- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 31, 2021

The first significant snowfall to hit the D.C. area in two years was expected to affect transportation into Tuesday by slickening roads in sheets of ice and sleet.

The snowfall Sunday was part of a larger weather system covering parts of the Midwest, the mid-Atlantic and the Northeast in seasonal frost.

A major storm could bring near blizzard conditions to the Northeast through Tuesday. The National Weather Service was anticipating heavy snow, strong winds and widespread coastal flooding.

The D.C. area was projected to get 4 to 8 inches of snow from Sunday into Tuesday, and the heaviest snowfall was expected north of Baltimore, National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Lasorsa said. He said the D.C. area probably would get another 1 to 3 inches of snow Monday on top of 3 to 6 inches Sunday.

Meanwhile, the storm left almost 7 inches of snow by Sunday morning in Chicago and led to the cancellations of more than 250 flights at the city’s two main airports. In Wisconsin, snow depths in some counties near Lake Michigan reached more than 15 inches, with snow still falling.

“That’s more snow than we’ve seen in a decade,” Chris Stumpf, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wisconsin, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Winter storm warnings were in effect for Monday and Monday night for the District, Central Maryland, Northern Virginia and eastern West Virginia.

Although most of the precipitation should stop Tuesday, Mr. Lasorsa said, there is a chance of flurries. He advised drivers to be cautious because some road surfaces froze ahead of the snowstorm.

Metro, the regional transit system, began operating on a “moderate snow service plan” Sunday. Service was suspended on some routes, and detours were in place to avoid areas that were vulnerable to hazardous conditions.

Loudoun County, Virginia, and Anne Arundel County, Maryland, closed their COVID-19 vaccine clinics Sunday and Monday because of forecasts of inclement weather. The COVID-19 testing event scheduled for Tuesday in Loudoun County also has been canceled.

The heaviest snow accumulation will be in central Pennsylvania, northern New Jersey and New York, stretching into New England. Those areas could get 12 to 18 inches, AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Rossio said.

“Snowfall rates at times may reach 2 [inches per hour], especially in any slow moving bands that develop Monday into Tuesday. These snowfall rates combined with gusty winds will severely limit visibility, making travel difficult to impossible,” the National Weather Service said.

The storm could have a major impact on travel and commerce along and west of the Interstate 95 corridor from Pennsylvania to Maine, which includes Philadelphia, New York and Boston, the weather agency said. Parts of North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia have a good chance of freezing rain.

Snow was expected to start falling in Massachusetts on Monday morning and accumulate up to 1 foot by the evening commute. The storm will reach northern New England Monday night, meteorologists said.

Wind gusts of 35 to 50 mph, strong enough to bring down tree branches, were forecast.

The storm over the Ohio Valley was forecast to move off the mid-Atlantic coast and then along the northeast coast by Tuesday, the National Weather Service said. Snowfall over the Upper Midwest should dwindle by Monday morning, and snow from the backside of the system was forecast to extend into the southern Appalachians on Monday and Tuesday.

A storm is expected to hit the Central Plains and stretch into the Great Lakes on Thursday and Friday, leaving Minnesota, Wisconsin and northern Michigan with 3 to 6 inches of snow, Mr. Rossio said.

“This storm is actually going to bring us closer to normal. We’re probably right on the mark for where we should be. Before it, we were kind of below average. But the season is definitely turning out to be seasonally active,” he said. “We kind of had a snow drought the past couple of years, especially last year. We didn’t get that much in the way of any big snowstorms.”

The last time the D.C. area received more than a foot of snow was Jan. 22-23, 2016, when a storm dropped up to 18 inches, Mr. Rossio said. In 2019, about 9 to 10 inches of snow fell on Jan. 12 and 13.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Saturday issued a snow emergency from 9 a.m. Sunday until 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Early Sunday, the District deployed 168 heavy plows to clear highways, bridges, ramps and streets and 81 light plows to clear snow from smaller roads. The District’s snow team was pretreating and removing snow from municipal buildings, first responder locations, hypothermia centers, homeless shelters, COVID-19 testing sites and public schools.

D.C. Public Schools will not have a snow day Monday. If schools close because of weather conditions, then students will participate in online learning. Students who signed up for in-person instruction were scheduled to return to classrooms Monday for the first time this school year.

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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