Snowy commute

Morning traffic moved more slowly than usual on the Beltway, as seen from the outer loop between the exits for Charles Street and I-83 on Dec. 26. A mix of snow followed by sleet and rain made for treacherous driving conditions in the Baltimore region on the day after Christmas. (Amy Davis, Baltimore Sun / December 26, 2012)

Forecasters are continuing to model a passing snowfall expected Friday in the Baltimore area, and while odds of significant accumulation are decreasing, the timing could make for a messy end-of-the-week commute home. Meanwhile, a separate system could slicken Thursday morning's commute.

Meteorologists have backed off predictions of a wintry mix Friday, with warm air aloft that could have brought sleet instead of snow no longer expected. Any snow that falls will be light and powdery given the frigid temperatures, said Tom Kines, a senior meteorologist with AccuWeather.com.

The National Weather Service's precipitation forecasts call for a 30-40 percent chance of at least an inch of snow across Central Maryland.

The weather service's Baltimore/Washington forecast office is calling for snow most likely around 3 p.m., with chances for snow as early as noon and as late as 9 p.m. across the area. For any particular location, though, the snow is expected to pass quickly and accumulate lightly, according to forecasters.

"The one danger, so to speak, of the storm is if it does get in here mid-afternoon on Friday, the evening commute on Friday could be a little tricky," Kines said. Still, he called it "not a big storm" and more of a "nuisance."

Given that two systems are expected to converge over the area, and some uncertainty over how they might interact, though, forecasters are adding the caveat that we may get no snow at all in some scenarios.

"ONE LAST NOTE WITH THIS STORM... THERE IS STILL AN OUTSIDE CHANCE THAT THE PRIMARY LIFT FROM BOTH  SYSTEMS STAYS TO THE NORTH AND SOUTH OF THE AREA...RESULTING IN  VIRTUALLY NO PRECIP," weather service forecasters wrote.

A winter weather advisory is in effect for the Baltimore area for Wednesday night through 9 a.m. Thursday morning, with about an inch of snow or less expected across the area.

Have a weather question? E-mail me at sdance@baltsun.com or tweet to @MdWeather.