2020 | Weather

Heavy snowfall forecast for parts of county on Wednesday

Meteorologist says 3 to 4 inches possible for Bethesda, up to 10 in northern areas

A storm is expected to bring 3 to 4 inches of snow to Bethesda on Wednesday.

File photo

A winter storm could bring heavy snowfall across the Washington, D.C., region on Wednesday, with the potential for 3 to 10 inches in various parts of Montgomery County.

National Weather Service meteorologist Kevin Witt told Bethesda Beat Monday morning that a system of high pressure in Canada and New England will bring cold air to the region on Wednesday in a phenomenon often referred to as a “nor’easter.”

“The air flows around the high pressure clockwise, so the wind’s gonna be a northeasternly wind. It’s gonna come into this area and that northeasterly wind is gonna usher in cold air on the backside of this storm,” he said.

In Montgomery County, Witt said snow could start falling between 6 and 7 a.m., but it might not stick to the roads initially if the ground isn’t cold enough. Accumulation is more likely to begin mid-morning on Wednesday, creating a slick film on roads, he said.

The temperature will be around 28 degrees to start the day on Wednesday and will gradually warm to a high of about 35 degrees during the day, Witt said. But accumulation will still occur on roads, he said, once the ground becomes cold due to the precipitation.

“Eventually, it’s gonna snow enough and often enough where when the ground temperature reaches 32 degrees or even 31, the snow’s gonna start sticking on the ground and making the roads snow-covered,” he said.

Accumulation totals will vary throughout the county, Witt said. Bethesda and other areas close to the D.C. line might get 3 to 4 inches of snow while northwestern parts of the county near the Frederick County line could see up to 10 inches.

“There’s gonna be a tight gradient where the heaviest snow’s gonna be and where the light snow’s gonna be,” he said.

Additionally, Witt said there will be a mix of rain and snow at times on Wednesday, which could reduce accumulation totals. But he warned motorists in Bethesda and other more urban parts of the county to watch out for icy conditions on Wednesday.

Montgomery County Public Schools — which has virtual instruction while school buildings are closed during the pandemic — will likely not be affected by Wednesday’s storm, spokeswoman Gboyinde Onijala wrote in an email on Monday.

The exception would be if there is a “significant” countywide power outage, she wrote.

Onijala wrote, however, that the storm could affect food distribution and child care providers that operate in MCPS buildings on Wednesday.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com