Cold Blast & Winter Mix. Ice Cream Flavors Or a Problem?

November 12th, 2013 at 8:59 am by under Weather

I typed in the words Cold Blast and Winter Mix in the title, and I suddenly thought that they sounded like an ice cream float flavor.  But nay…we actually have a chance for a rain,sleet, & snow mix later this afternoon.  This morning many folks probably headed out the door not believing that it was going to turn into a nasty day.  This morning temperatures were in the 40s and 50s with partly cloudy skies.  Winds were light.  But trust me it will be pretty raw this evening.  The cold front that will be the game-changer in all of this is moving down from northern Virginia as I type this.

Cold Front On The Way

Cold Front On The Way

Winds ahead of the front were actually out of the southwest.  By the late morning and midday hours the front will swipe through Hampton Roads.  Winds will turn out of the north and will gusts up to 30mph.  We’ll see scattered rain showers at that time with temperatures in the 40s. By 3pm the cold air in the upper levels will be far enough south that we’ll start to get a rain, sleet, & snow mix.  Here’s our Future Trak model at that hour:

Future Trak (3pm)

Future Trak (3pm)

Remember…green is rain, purple is mix, and blue is snow.  In this case-mostly snow.  However, here are the forecast temperatures for that time also from Future Trak:

Forecast Temperatures (3pm)

Forecast Temperatures (3pm)

Notice that the surface air temperatures are all above freezing.  Still they will be much colder than this morning.  Especially with the wind chill.  They will stay above freezing through 11pm.  Then they will drop to the low-to-mid 30s overnight.  There will even be some 20s inland.  Now keep in mind though that during the 5-6pm evening commute, there will be a Wintry mix falling.  Even if it all melts, there will still be folks slowing down to take a look at what falls from the sky.  Especially if it changes over to mostly snow.  So keep in mind that it might take a little longer to get home during the evening commute.  Here’s what our model has for 5 pm:

Future Trak (5pm)

Future Trak (5pm)

The other computer models are basically in agreement with only minor differences in the timing of the moisture and cold air.  Still… with all of the factors involved I don’t see anything sticking across the region.  The ground temperatures are in the 50s, and again the air temperatures will be above freezing.  So there may be a few decks, vehicles, and trees that get some snow to stick, but it will be a rare sight on the ground.

I mentioned the winds before.   The winds behind the front will increase from the north at 15-25mph early this afternoon.  The gusts increase to between 30 and 35mph late this afternoon into tonight.  So by the end of the day temps will be in the 30s, gusts will be up to 35mph, and there will be some wetness.  It will be raw for early November.  So make sure you are prepared with some warm Winter gear.

Tomorrow we will mostly dry across the region.  There is a small potential for some flurries near the coast and bay.  This will be caused by the bay effect.  This is basically (very basically) when you have very cold air blowing over a large area of warm water creating a thin band of snow.  The temperatures, moisture, and wind have to be just right for this to setup.  At this point I’d say it’s just a possibility for late tonight into early tomorrow.

We will have some very cold mornings both tomorrow and Thursday.  Lows will be in the 20s and 30s inland.  We’ll be in the low/mid 30s in the metro.  We’ll see upper 30s to near 40 along the coast.  There may be some freeze warnings posted.  So stay tuned!

Later this week we will warm up to the 50s and then 60s.  We’ll be dry going into the weekend.  We may see some scattered rain showers by Sunday.  No super bananarama winter blast.  : )

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler

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