Heavy snow still due, forecast changed to 6-10"
Forecasters out at Sterling say the coastal low is deepening as predicted and some heavy snow and lightning was occurring closer to the storm's center. But they have trimmed their estimates of total accumulations for the Winter Storm Warning area in Central Maryland tonight back to 4 to 8 inches.
UPDATE 7 p.m. That National Weather Service is now calling for 6-10 inches for Carroll, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Northern Baltimore and Southern Baltimore. Forecasters are adjusting their estimates as radar shows evidence of mesoscale banding - very intense snow bands - crossing the region.
UPDATE, 5 p.m.: The NWS has trimmed its forecasts for Baltimore again, this time to 3 to 6 inches. At the same time, forecasters said, "THE HEAVY SNOW WILL REDUCE VISIBILITIES BELOW A QUARTER MILE WITH SNOWFALL ACCUMULATION RATES AT TIMES OF 2 INCHES PER HOUR. THIS
WILL PRODUCE DANGEROUS TRAVEL CONDITIONS DURING RUSH HOUR."
Here's a look at where the snow was (blue) on radar around 4 p.m. (Click to enlarge.)
The storm's center was located near Norfolk this afternoon. A rapidly falling barometer in Baltimore was an indicator of the low's intensification as it reached the coast. Reports of lightning near the central low also indicated a very energetic storm.
Other signs suggested to forecasters that "if any precipitation begins as rainfall, which may happen east of I-95, it'll change over fairly quickly to snow. The upper level energy transitioning off the coast at the moment, and rapid cyclogenisis should be underway through [7 p.m.] and beyond."
The Maryland Department of Transportation's CHART traffic cameras showed slushy, snowy conditions on the interstates north and west of Baltimore after 5 p.m.