Tracking Mid-Week Storm

March 3rd, 2013 at 11:38 pm by under Weather

Enjoy the quiet weather for now because we are looking at big changes as we cruise toward the middle of the week. Meteorologist Jeff Edmondson has a great video blog that he posted earlier this morning about the differences in the models, so check that out if you haven’t had the chance yet.  The energy from this storm system is now moving into Montana, so it is still very far away from Hampton Roads. Therefore, we expect the models to continue to change until we get closer to the event.

Since we are talking about snow, I researched the top 5 March snowstorms that impacted Hampton Roads over the years. These totals were taken at the Norfolk International Airport where all of our climate data is kept. We are NOT expecting to see snow totals anywhere near these numbers this week. I just wanted to show that it is possible for Hampton Roads to see snow in March.

Top 5 March Snowstorms in Norfolk

The computer models are in good agreement that this area of low pressure will move right over Hampton Roads and then strengthen as it moves offshore.

Mid-Week Storm

Most of the models (NAM, GFS, CMC) all have the area of low pressure right over Hampton Roads Wednesday morning/afternoon (graphic above). The heaviest snow always falls to the north and northwest of the area of low pressure. If this scenario pans out, then the heaviest snow will be located toward Richmond and points to the north. Snow totals would increase toward the north and west, so accumulations would be higher over the Middle Peninsula, Northern Neck and Eastern Shore. On the backside of the low, winds are blowing from the north and northwest. These areas would have colder air to work with, which would increase the snow chances. Coastal areas have less of a chance of accumulating snow due to the winds blowing off the water. Warmer air will move into the lower levels of the atmosphere, which would melt any snow that is falling from the upper levels of the atmosphere. Keep in mind that another model we use is the European which has the low farther south. If these model verifies, then the heavy snow would shift more south toward the Peninsula and Southside. Any shift in track will greatly alter the snowfall totals, which is why the location of this storm is so important to the forecast.

I want to show you one of our longer range computer models that shows the accumulated snowfall from now until early Friday morning. Note: All precipitation will come to an end early Thursday morning.

Preliminary Future Trak Snowfall Forecast

This model agrees with my thinking that the heaviest snow will be from Richmond and points north and west. I think areas closer to the coast will not see much at all. This model has 0.58″ for Norfolk, 2.01″ for Franklin, 0.71″ for Elizabeth City, 2.42″ for Williamsburg and 1.42″ for Melfa. Again, let me stress that these totals are PRELIMINARY and we will likely see changes over the next few days. I just want you to see that snow totals will be much lower for coastal areas. Wind will also be an issue, especially for areas that flood easily.  Tides will be running high Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, so there will be the potential for tidal flooding as well. We will continue to fine tune the forecast as we get closer to the event. Stay tuned!

Meteorologist: Tiffany Savona




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