Flip-Flops And Snow?February 15th, 2013 at 9:14 am by Jeremy Wheeler under Weather
The title to this blog is two-fold. It will be very warm today with highs in the upper 50s to near 60. Maybe not flip-flop weather, but close. Then this weekend the cold air will blow blow in and by Sunday we’ll see highs in the mid 30s. Also… the models have flipped dramatically since yesterday, and have becoming much more snowy for the weekend.
So let’s start by talking about the nice weather first. Then we’ll get to the mess. High pressure is in control today. We have really cleared out the skies, but we also developed some fog this morning. Once the fog burns off, then we will be looking good. High temps will rise to the upper 50s. A cold front will move closer to us from the west, but won’t make it through during the day. It will reach western Virginia, and will deliver scattered showers to that region.
Tonight the front will move through, but the cold air won’t rush-in right behind it. So late tonight we will see some scattered rain showers into early tomorrow morning. A few sleet pellets may mix-in, but no big wintry weather will happen up to that point. Tomorrow we will be behind the front, with a second front coming in from the Midwest. We talked about a huge trough coming in at the upper levels along with the colder air at the surface. This upper level trough will be large and strong. It is expected to develop an area of low pressure at the surface. The models have gone back and forth as to how far offshore the low will form, and this has made for another frustrating forecast. The overnight models have swung much wetter with a closer/stronger low. This has caused us to trend the forecast upward. When you have wild swings, I’ve found that trending is the best thing to do.
The precipitation on Saturday will start as scattered showers mixing with sleet and a few snowflakes Saturday afternoon. In the evening colder weather will push down from the north. Winds will pick up from that direction and will gust up to 25mph. This will allow for a changeover to snow showers that will gradually push in from the west. The temperatures Saturday night will drop low enough for the snow to stick. Mostly on the grass at first, but I think it will start to accumulate on the roads as the falling snow cools the surface. So keep in mind that some of the snow will melt at first, but not as much as the first decent snow event that we had back in January. Snow will last into early Sunday morning. Then after a few flurries, we will dry out during the afternoon.
The computer models:
The models have changed quite a bit in the last 24 hours. Yesterday the GFS model was calling for snow, and it still is. If I were to only use that model, then I would probably be calling for 2-5 inches of snow. Not to say that I won’t update to raise the amounts. The NAM model has wettened up quite a bit. It has pulled a 180, and is now calling for what looks like 1-3″ for the region. However, its high-resolution version has a mix a while longer and it has the precipitation moving through faster. Our model Future Trak also has a mix for a while up until about 8-11pm. Then it brings a slug of moderate (maybe heavy) snow showers into the metro.
It’s very interesting that the European put in a little more precip, and has trended towards the GFS model. This has been a point of contention over the last year or two. Which model is better…blah…blah..blah. The European does have a higher resolution, but it isn’t always right. It does do a great job though. The European is still the driest of the models, but the consensus is definitely more snow for our region. Our Future Trak model has really upped the amounts compared to yesterday:
I’m calling for a dusting to an inch for most of the Hampton Roads area with 1-2 inches north and west of the metro. Possibly 3″ in some cities.
Keep in mind that I am trending upward. So I will likely increase this map for midday. I want to get the morning model runs in before I do. Things are looking very interesting.
By mid Sunday morning the snow should become just some flurries. Then we will dry out during the afternoon. With strong north/northwest winds our high temps on Sunday will probably be in the mid 30s. Quieter/warmer weather returns by Monday. We’ll be even warmer (upper 50s) with rain showers by next Tuesday.
Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler