Calm Before The Snow

January 21st, 2014 at 8:06 am by under Weather

Things are ramping up for this upcoming event.  There is a very high chance for accumulating snow in the region.  In fact I put my newly developed WAVY snow tracker up to 100% for Hampton Roads.  How bout that snow lovers? It’s hard to believe that we were just in the 60s yesterday, and by tomorrow we’ll start with temperatures in the teens. Let’s talk about it.

The setup is that we have a developing area of low pressure to our west with a strong cold front extending from its center southward.

Today's Forecast Map

Today’s Forecast Map

There is a large trough in the upper levels of the atmosphere.  Plus, there is some very cold air sitting just north of our region.  Snow was already falling across the Ohio River Valley and the Appalachians.



As the low moves east, a thin line of rain and a thick area of snow will push southeast.  Winds will pick up out of the northeast today as the low intensifies.  We’ll see clouds increase and some rain will enter the region as we head into the afternoon.  By 3 pm we’re likely to have a rain/snow mix up towards the Northern Neck and towards Richmond.  By 6 pm those areas will see snow.  We’ll see snow reach down into the Hampton Roads Metro by 6pm.

Future Trak (6pm)

Future Trak (6pm)

Snow will increase through the later evening.  By 10-11pm.  Almost the entire area will see at least some type of snow (light/moderate/heavy).

Future Trak (11pm)

Future Trak (11pm)

The snow will keep going until about 3-4 am. Then it will push out.  By that time temperatures will drop down to the mid-teens.  Winds will be blowing out of the north/northeast at 15-25mph with gusts up to 40mph.  Wind chills will be in the negatives in the morning.  Snow is likely to be on the ground and many roads.  So there will likely be delays and cancellations for tomorrow.  Temperatures will not allow for melting all day Wednesday.  So whatever sticks will stay.

In total we are now expecting 4-8″ of snow north of the metro.  That includes the Northern Neck, Accomack county, and the Middle Peninsula.  We are calling for 2-4″ for the entire Peninsula and Southside.  I think we’ll see 1-2″ for northeast North Carolina, but it may be closer to an inch.  Here’s the latest forecast map:

Snow Forecast

Snow Forecast

The National Weather Service has increase their totals as have the models.  So I have increased my forecast as well.  I might increase it more for the midday update.  Now all of our Virginia cities/counties are under a Winter Storm Warning.  A Winter Weather Advisory is in place for northeast North Carolina through tomorrow morning.

Winter Warnings/Advisories

Winter Warnings/Advisories

Through the day Wednesday winds will stay strong.  They will be out of the north/northwest at 20-30mph with gusts up to 40mph.  So high temperatures will only get into the low 20s. Wind chills will be in the single digits even in the afternoon. After a few flurries in the morning, we’ll see partly cloudy skies.  Winds will taper off by the evening.  We’ll bottom out in the teens again Thursday morning, but the winds will be very light.  Highs on Thursday will be in the low/mid 30s.  Then we’ll have another shot at cold air on Thursday, but that cold front looks dry at this time.

While we will see some strong winds for a good 6-10 hours, we are not expecting anything more than some nuisance tidal flooding.  I think the reason will be due to the short duration of the strongest winds.  We are actually near full moon.  So I am a bit surprised that minor tidal flooding isn’t forecast.  Either way here is a link to the latest tide forecasts.  NWS Tide forecasts.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler

7 Responses to “Calm Before The Snow”

  1. Robert Shannon says:

    Jeremy, I really appreciate the time you and the rest of the weather team spend on these weather blogs. I find them very informative and convenient and they are my go-to resource for winter and tropical weather. The commentary and illustrations not only do a great of explaining upcoming weather events but have also expanded my knowledge and understanding of our weather and climate here in Hampton Roads.

    Thanks again!

  2. Jeff says:

    Hey Jeremy, it’s starting to seem like heartbreak time already. Do you think totals are going to end up being lower than we were thinking earlier? I’ve noticed that Richmond stations are all starting to break down and call Bust. Still hoping for something decent here in Gloucester, but I guess I shouldn’t hold my breath

  3. David says:

    I have a feeling this is going to be a bust for this area. 50 degrees right now. Ground will be too warm for much to stick. Plus radar does not look promising with amount of moisture heading this way.

  4. Zack says:

    Will be a bust. The models never seem to pick up the drying out that occurs when that super cold air is drawn in. They are all starting to hint on it now. Latest models have already dipped to a trace to an inch for the south side. I think you could see the totals north of this drop as well as the day rolls on. Seems like we get more snow when nothing is predicted vs when the snow gets talked up. I’m preparing to see some stray light snow showers on and off tonight with a trace on grassy surfaces and decks. I’m looking at next Tuesday for the next possible snow maker.

  5. Bob says:

    I think David and Jeff may be right. This certainly *feels* like a freezing rain and black ice patches type of event. All the hazards without any of the fun. Crud. But we won’t know until… we know.

  6. [...] is a quick update from this morning’s weather blog.  The models have been trending with some lower amounts lately, but we are still expecting snow in [...]

  7. lynn says:

    As usual, forecasting snow is a bad career move for a meteorologist in the HR area. It does not snow here that’s just the way it is. I feel bad for Don Slater having to back peddle his way out of this tonight on the evening news.

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