Wet Or White??? Place Your Bets!

March 5th, 2013 at 9:16 am by under Weather

The models have been changing their tune with this upcoming weather system.  I’m not going to rule out snow for Hampton Roads, but things are looking more wet than white in the forecast.  The area of low pressure is still on track to move out of the Tennessee River Valley and head our way.  Today that low and another in the Midwest will create several areas of precipitation.


The Tennessee low will be the one that impacts Virginia.  It will move into western Virginia by later today.  We will continue to increase the moisture out ahead of it with light east winds at the surface.  Aloft the will pick up out of the southwest.  We will develop some scattered rain showers later today.  Tonight the low will creep closer.  We’ll have widespread rain showers across southeast Virginia and northeast North Carolina.  Low temperatures will be in the low 40s.  So no Winter weather will happen tonight other than a few sleep pellets up north.  Tomorrow morning the low will move into eastern Virginia along with more rain showers.

Tomorrow Morning

Notice the changever to snow does happen by that point over in Lynchburg, Charlottesville, and D.C.  Here’s where the models have changed.  They wrap in quite a bit more warm air, than previously forecast.  They now keep our region in the rain all the way through Wednesday evening.  The changeover does take place in central and northern Virginia, but our viewing area looks mostly wet through Wednesday evening. Here is our Future Trak model at 7pm Wednesday night:

Future Trak (7pm) Wednesday

Notice that there is a lot of rain with only a sliver of mix.  Now the other models still have snow or a mix, but the solid snow looks like it will be more up between Richmond and Washington D.C.  The NAM model does have moisture wrapping behind the system into very early Thursday morning.  However, when you look at the raw numbers from that model, it has surface temperatures above freezing through the duration of the storm.  So I don’t think we are going to see much on the ground in Hampton Roads.  The GFS model has a lot of snow, but keeps it even more north now from Fredericksburg east to Maryland.  It has the low moving more northeast now compared to yesterday’s more easterly track.  This is translating into a wetter forecast for our region.  The hi-res NAM does have a mix or a brief changeover inland, but barely anything for the metro.

Our Future Trak Model is basically saying zero snow on the ground with only light amounts towards Richmond and heavier amounts north of there.  I put the models together and came up with a snowfall forecast this morning.  Here is that forecast:

Snowfall Forecast

HOWEVER! If the models keep this warmer trend, then I will push everything north and reduce even the amounts from Williamsburg north.  Remember the models like to flip-flop a little at this stage, but the tide is working against the snow right now.

Speaking of tides.  We will probably see some minor tidal flooding with most tides running 1-2 feet above normal.  A few areas could see some moderate tidal flooding like on the North Carolina Sounds as well as the bay side of the Eastern Shore.  The winds ahead of the system will be mostly southwest, but behind the system on Thursday the winds will be north/northwest.  Winds will likely gust up to 40mph.  So this will be the cause for the tidal anomalies.

Tidal Flooding Thu-Fri

Here is the latest forecast for Sewell’s Point:

Sewell’s Point Tide Forecast

Minor tidal flooding starts at about 4.5ft.  So this isn’t going to be a major event, but the water will come up enough to cause a few problems.  The storm out at sea will make for some big waves.  This will probably create some overwash along highway 12 on the Outer Banks.  On top of that we are expected over an inch of rain.  So there will be several flooded streets as we go into Thursday.  We will dry out Thursday with highs in the 40s.  Highs will rise to near 50 on Friday and things will quiet down.  Then we are looking at a good weekend.  Highs will be in the mid-upper 50s both Saturday and Sunday.  We may even see some 60s on Sunday. Chris Reckling said that the surf might be pretty good going into this weekend.  If you are out there, then please send us photos. But also be safe.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler




2 Responses to “Wet Or White??? Place Your Bets!”

  1. Faith Miller says:

    I’d like to have snow but according to everything I’m reading and hearing, it doesn’t look like that will happen. But this is Tidewater, so everything could change in the blink of an eye!

  2. Kim says:

    So basically it is going to be typical H/R weather. It is always cold before the snow, the snow gets close, the temps increase dramatically and the snow arrives as rain? This is only place I have ever seen that gets warm when snow gets close. The precip moves out and the temps plummet back to cold.

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