Snow Potential Is Up And DownFebruary 10th, 2014 at 9:27 am by Jeremy Wheeler under Weather
I feel like the forecast has been like a carnival game recently. Which one? The one where you hit the hammer down and try and flip the frog onto the revolving lilly pads. The models are the lilly pads, the frog is the forecast, and the hammer is my frustration with the whole thing. How’s that for a simile? So you’ve seen the recent forecasts and how they have been changing. The models have had a tough time handling recent weather events. I’m going to give you the latest that I see, but keep in mind that the forecast is likely to change a bit by this afternoon/evening. So here goes..
Today we have a cold front which has already moved through Hampton Roads. It is continuing to slide south. Temperatures were in the mid 30s this morning, and are likely to stay in the mid-upper 30s through the afternoon. At the same time a small pocket of energy at the mid levels is scooting through. So there was a small band of precipitation over the northern part of the viewing area.
While it looked impressive on the radar, it was hard to find any reports of it hitting the ground early on. As we go through the afternoon, this band of light precipitation will sink southward. Our computer model (Future Trak) shows the band over Hampton Roads around the midday and early afternoon.
We’ll see scattered flurries and a few light snow showers over the area. Most of this won’t add up to much, but a few cities could see at least a dusting. It looks like most of this will pass to our south by the evening commute. Northeast North Carolina could see some of this continue into the evening. A few spots there may mix in a rain shower or two with the snow.
Tonight we’ll clear out the area, and lows will be in the 20s. The models have changed their tune about Tuesday (surprise, surprise). They all keep Tuesday dry now with highs in the 30s. The models have even backed off of the precipitation for Wednesday morning. However, there is the potential for a rain/snow mix Wednesday afternoon into Wednesday night. Now I won’t go into high detail with the models, but I will try to outline them a bit here:
The European model has a little light precipitation starting up by Wednesday afternoon, but it seems to transition most of the region into rain showers by late in the day. The only real snow that it has is a small pocket at the end on Thursday. Mostly from Richmond up to D.C. It has a pretty warm solution compared to the others. The NAM model has a rain/snow mix in the region by Wednesday evening. Then it turns mostly into rain by late Wednesday night. It has all rain Thursday morning, but it does have some inland snow by Thursday afternoon as the cold air wraps southward around an area of low pressure. Mostly along the I-95 corridor. The GFS model is the snowiest, but it seems like it is always the snowiest this Winter. It has a small area of rain/snow over northeast North Carolina by Tuesday night, but then it dries things out until midday Wednesday. After that it starts up some inland snow with rain from Virginia Beach south. It has a wide area of snow by late Wednesday night with more of a mix for Hampton Roads. By Thursday morning it changes a lot of the area to all rain. It looks like snow still along I-95 though. Then it brings a band of snow through the region from the afternoon through the evening. The Canadian model follows a simliar idea, but the keeps the snow inland longer. Both the GFS and Canadian show heavy snow from Richmond north. If the forecast gets colder, then our snow chances will quickly go up. Here is what our Future Trak model looks like on Wednesday afternoon.
So a summary is tough this time. While it looks like a lot of our viewing area will see more of a rain/snow mix. There is also a potential for heavy snow over at least part of the region. Not to mention that the models have been changing the timing dramatically over the last 36 hours for this mid-week event. For now I would prepare for possible snow from Williamsburg northward. Maybe from Franklin/Suffolk northward. Tomorrow we should be able to pin down the details better. At least at this time the weather looks ok for Valentine’s Day.
Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler