The great storm is finally here. What can we expect? The latest forecast is out—and it’s both weird and grim. Read it tucked safely indoors, with candles, canned goods, and the last of your frail hopes gathered tightly around you.


The heaviest of the snowfall is set to be in Washington DC. Yesterday, they were estimating that by the end of the day we’d see as much as two feet of snow. As of today, that estimate has been upped to say that on the upper end we could see over three feet of snow:

Top image: Satellite imagery of the storm captured by NOAA; Map: DC metro area maximum snowfall estimates by National Weather Service


Of course, that’s the maximum prediction, the more likely scenario according to the National Weather Service is that most areas fall somewhere between 24-30 inches. Still, even in that scenario this would be the biggest snowfall DC has ever seen, the last one that even comes close was a 28-inch snowfall in 1922.

Snowfalls aren’t all that there is to contend with though; this particular storm is unusual in just how many different types of cruel winter tricks it’s putting out into the same mix.

In Chesapeake Bay, winds could go up to 65 mph—practically hurricane-force. Further south, in Kentucky, Tennessee and the Carolinas, they’re already seeing huge swaths of freezing rain and scattered thundersnow. But even areas north of there without ice storms will have unusually icy-conditions because of wildly uneven temperature swings, which are likely to give us periods of rain and sleet mixed in between the snow and ice storms. All of that will be followed by a hard freeze of the whole mess. Meanwhile, Saturday’s full moon is likely to raise tides enough that already high waves are a danger to flood all along the coast, perhaps even in multiple waves.


Basically, this particular winter storm is a horrifying buffet of almost every unpleasant or dangerous cold-weather effect you’re likely to see this season all wrapped up into one weird weekend. So keep a weather-eye out on what’s happening, but do it from safely indoors.

Follow the author at @misra.