Snow in April?!? Say it ain't so!!!

The first day of spring looked more like the first day of winter

It’s April, we promise. The temperature reached 73 degrees briefly Wednesday before falling back into the 50s. A seasonably cool day is expected Thursday and a pleasant day Friday ahead of the next potent system that will move into the area for the weekend.

As EVERYONE has asked Wednesday, what’s the deal with the snow? Keep asking because we love the questions. And know we are with you and don’t necessarily love the snow, I mean at this point at least. Here are our current thoughts on what you can expect.


Precipitation is expected to develop in the pre-dawn hours Saturday as rain. Temperatures will drop from the 50s late Friday night, into the 40s and 30s by early Saturday morning. A transition from rain to a period of sleet and snow will begin as early as 7am Saturday. At this point, temperatures should drop into the mid and lower 30s, cold enough for accumulations mainly on the grass.

Light to moderate snow will continue through the late morning hours with some additional light accumulations possible. Precipitation should come to an end by Saturday afternoon and evening as the system moves off the coast.

How much snow?

At this point in time, it’s really too early to be precise given the fact that we’re still going to try to determine the extent of the cold air available. Our forecast for now brings the chance for a few inches mainly north and west of DC with most of that in the grass. For the DC Metro itself, while we may experience a few hours of snow, we’re not anticipating much in the way of accumulation given the timing (both time of day and time of year!).

Please keep in mind this forecast will evolve some as the system gets closer in time. The energy associated with it is still well out over the Pacific and won't enter the U.S. until Friday. Slight variations in how far north or south the precipitation and cold air lie will, of course, play a big part in who sees snow and who can expect little more than rain or a mix. We'll, of course, update you throughout the rest of the week as new guidance becomes available.

Historical Perspective

DC has only recorded an inch or more of snow in the month of April 11 times. After going back and looking at each occasion, the highest temperature the previous day was 52 degrees, with the other 10 days in the 40s. We are expected to reach the upper 60s on Friday ahead of this system so the warm air and ground temperatures will play a big part.

Two similar occasions occurred in 1972 and 1940, where DC recorded 0.6” and 0.4”. For each of these occasions, the temperature reached 70 degrees or higher the previous day and dropped with a strong cold front. Of the nearly 6 tenths of precipitation that fell for both events, DC still only had around a half inch of snow due to melting. Of all the events I could find in the month of April, those two stick out the most to me as the most alike set-ups when looking strictly at temperatures and precipitation.

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