D.C. region braces for up to 20 more inches of snow 

The D.C. area is bracing for another major winter storm Tuesday that could dump more than a foot of fresh powder on a region struggling to recover from the crippling blast of snow that barreled through three days ago.

The National Weather Service has the entire D.C. metro area, from Prince William County north, under a winter storm warning for 10 to 20 inches of snow. Forecasters have had their eyes on this storm for days, but the projected snow totals were bumped up late Monday.


The snow is expected to start mid to late afternoon Tuesday and continue into Wednesday morning, with the heaviest falling overnight. Temperatures are expected to drop from near freezing at the onset into the 20s, and light southeasterly winds will turn to the northwest and gust up to 25 mph. The combination of snow and strong winds, the weather service warned, will make travel very hazardous.


As if it wasn't already after four storms in less than two weeks.


"It looks like another 6 to 12 inches," said Tom Kines, an Accuweather meteorologist. "After what we just went through, 6 to 12 sounds like nothing."


The computer models, as of Monday afternoon, appeared to be trending toward a larger, more complex system. Snowfall amounts will be less than the historic storm this past weekend that dropped 20-plus inches regionwide, but the storm is expected to impact a wider area as a coastal storm strengthens and moves up the coast toward New England.


Another snowfall will force fatigued road crews out of the subdivisions and back onto the main arterial roadways. Northern Virginia residents, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation, should see "at least one pass from a snowplow" before the next storm hits.


The D.C. area, and Mid-Atlantic states generally, often experience heavy snow during El Nino winters, a period of unusually warm temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. El Nino, this winter at least, has been characterized by a parade of storms moving east across the southern United States, bombing off the Atlantic coast and then turning north into cold air.


"The fact that we've had two, 2-foot snowstorms in one winter, there's more to it than just El Nino," Kines said. "Everything that could go bad has gone bad."


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