Buckle up, buckaroos
After a late start and a few pauses, the snow is falling steadily now across the region. Here is the latest tally of accumulations, mostly to our west and in Virginia. Forecasters still expect the precipitation to change to sleet and freezing rain for most of the region, at least briefly, with more snow and ice accumulations to the north and west, and less to the south and east.
Update at 2 p.m.: The precip has changed to rain in downtown Baltimore. But the air temperature at the Science Center is still 29 degrees, suggesting warmer air aloft, colder at the surface. That's the setup for freezing rain. Leave a comment and let us know what you're seeing where you are.
As expected, most school systems have closed, and many businesses are following suit. With ground temperatures stuck below freezing, whatever falls appears likely to stick and/or freeze on contact. Watch for slippery conditions under foot (and tire). Iced trees will lose limbs and drag down power lines as they fall, causing power outages.
Here's the forecast map. The pink counties out west can expect 1 to 3 inches of snow before the precip turns to freezing rain. Ice accumulations could grow to a half-inch, which may cause a lot of problems out there. It will likely change back to snow before it all ends tonight, making things even more treacherous tomorrow.
The purple counties could get an inch or less of snow and sleet before the changeover to freezing rain. But cold surfaces will allow icing to the tune of a quarter- to a half-inch. More trouble ahead for those people. They could also see a brief change to snow before the storm departs.
The tan counties, including Baltimore and points south and east, will get less than a half-inch of snow. The precip will switch to freezing rain and leave a tenth of an inch or two of ice wherever it lands. Roads may be icy.