A winter storm brought snow Saturday to the Mid-Atlantic region, where forecasters upped their predicted weekend accumulations and transportation and emergency officials urged residents to stay off the roads.
Light snow began falling Saturday afternoon in the western Virginia mountains and in the Washington area. Snowfall was expected to spread into central Virginia, Maryland and Delaware by late Saturday and Sunday, getting heavier and staying around before the precipitation ends Sunday evening, according to forecasters.
The National Weather Service posted winter storm warnings for most parts of the three states, with snowfall estimates ranging from 5 to 10 inches (13 to 25 centimeters) in the greater Washington area and in higher elevations where Interstates 64 and 81 intersect in Virginia. Baltimore and western Maryland could get 3 to 7 inches (7 to 18 centimeters) of snow.
Southwest Virginia could see up to 6 inches (15 centimeters) of snow, while Richmond, where temperatures will be slightly warmer, will get less snow along with freezing rain.
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Maryland and Virginia officials prepped for the storm, pretreating some roads to discourage icing. They're urging residents to avoid unnecessary weekend travel. Local governments cancelled weekend programs.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency Saturday night in order to allow the state to be better prepared to respond to the storm.
"Above all, please put safety first and communicate with your neighbors, family, and friends," said Russ Strickland, executive director of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency.
Further south to North Carolina, winter precipitation fell largely as sleet, freezing rain or rain, according to the weather service. The greatest threat for power outages or tree damage from ice or a wintry mix is in the central and northern mountains, adjoining foothills and northwest Piedmont.