Blizzard of 2016, Snowzilla, From Virginia to New York, At Least

The Blizzard of 2016 is beginning to bury the entire Washington, D.C.-Baltimore urban area and surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs under a predicted 16 inches to two feet of snow.

One of the best sources for continuing updates on the storm is The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang. The Gang has nicknamed the potentially record-breaking snowstorm “Snowzilla.”

Snow began falling in my part of Maryland, just north of Washington, about 2 p.m. Friday afternoon. It will continue snowing all night, reaching a depth of up to 20 inches by dawn Saturday. Then the storm will continue all day Saturday, into Saturday night, possibly reaching depths of two feet to 30 inches. All this according to many weather forecasters.

Blizzard winds are expected at times, and whiteouts are possible, making travel impossible. Who knows how high the drifts may go? We had little or no wind as the snow began to fall Friday afternoon in Montgomery County, MD. But in early evening gusts were blowing the snow.

People in the Washington-Maryland-Virginia region are expecting to be snowed in on Saturday and probably Sunday as well. Will the area return to business as usual on Monday, or Tuesday. It depends on many factors, particularly how long it takes for snowplows to clear highways and side streets.

Winds are expected to gust to 40 mph in the immediate D.C. area, increasing to 50 mph closer to the Chesapeake Bay. Along Maryland’s Atlantic Ocean coast, winds will range to 50 and 60 mph. A storm surge from the Nor’easter winds will likely produce high tides above normal in coastal areas, with possible flooding in all the usual areas. Beach erosion is likely, of course. Power outages are possible, considering the wind and snow on tree branches and power lines

Maryland has declared a state of emergency. Worcester County, MD, officials have urged people living in flood-prone areas to be prepared to move to higher ground if necessary.

Based on the weather maps, it looks to me like the entire states of Maryland and Virginia will receive significant snowfall. Delaware and New Jersey too, and into New York. The storm may not get as far north as Boston, which received so much snow last year.

The temperature stands at 19 degrees in my part of Maryland early Friday evening. The temperature will gradually climb to the mid-20 degree range Friday night and remain there through the night. On Saturday, we expect a high temperature of 27 and a low of possibly 14 Saturday night.

After the snow ends Saturday afternoon or evening, the sun will be out on Sunday and Monday, with temperatures edging into the low or even mid-30s. The first opportunity for significant melting will likely be Tuesday, when temperatures might rise briefly to the mid-40s.

— John Hayden

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