Eastern U.S. Mess FormingFebruary 12th, 2014 at 8:38 am by Jeremy Wheeler under Weather
I can’t remember how many times I’ve said the word mess over the last few days. That’s not including my kids and cats back home, but it’s exactly what this next system is going to be for the southeast eastern U.S. Then it will be a mess for the northeast states. The wintry weather has already formed over some of the southeast states.
Snow was falling over parts of North and South Carolina. There was a lot of rain farther to the south with a big zone of sleet and freezing rain in between. A weak area of low pressure was starting to form over southern Georgia. This low will steadily pull up along the coast and move in by tonight. During the day we’ll see quite a bit of clouds and highs in the upper 30s. We shouldn’t see any precipitation until late in the day. So our Future Trak model shows the snow and rain starting up in Hampton Roads around 5-6pm.
There will be accumulating snow in our inland sections with rain (and a little sleet) along the coast. What is expected to happen is that the rain will keep pushing north as the low moves closer. Slightly warmer air at the mid levels will push in from the southeast while at the surface our winds will pick up out of the northeast. We’ll see gusts to 30mph tonight. The mid level warming will continue tonight. By 2am the entire area is expected to be in rain. (Yellow is moderate rain, green is light rain, pink is a mix, and blue is snow).
It should stay as rain through the mid morning Thursday. Temps will probably hover in the mid 30s, but may rise a bit. Temperatures may sit close to the low 30s far inland and north. That could allow for a mix to last longer in those areas. It could also allow the snow to stay in places. I put together a snow forecast map, but you should take it with a large grain of rock salt.
The forecast models are showing similar amounts as the map above. Some might even estimate more over western Virginia. The big problem and million dollar question is… How much of the snow will melt tonight. With rain forecast over the entire area overnight. Even moderate rain. It’s possible that almost all of the snow will melt in the viewing area. Some of the colder cities may not see as much melt. So There may be some issues in those cities. Also, as the precipitation tries to transform over, then we could see some freezing rain and sleet in the inland and northern sections. Here is the latest forecast map from the National Weather Service for possible ice accumulation:
The next problem is that the system will wrap up as a band of light snow or a snow/sleet/rain mix. This is generally forecast around the late morning to the mid afternoon, but the models do disagree on the timing a bit. Here is what our Future Trak model shows for 3pm.
We will dry up by Thursday evening as the low pushes off to our northeast. They will expect quite a bit of snow from Charlottesville to near D.C. up to parts of New York and Pennsylvania before the system moves out.
As the low pushes away the winds will pick up Thursday. Winds will be really blowing out of the north at 15-25mph with gusts up to 35mph. I mentioned yesterday that I don’t expect minor tidal flooding, but some nuisance flooding is possible. Tides are forecast to run 1 to 1.5ft above normal.
We will dry out for Friday, but we may see more light snow by Saturday morning. A big cold front is forecast to move through the region and put down at least some flurries, if not some light snow. What’s interesting about that is that some schools will be attending on Saturday. Could they see problems? We’ll be checking as the forecast updates.
Typically I try to go into high detail in the models. This time though I decided to just focus on the forecast. The models are actually in decent agreement on the whole setup. The only real difference is the exact placement of the low, and the amount of moisture at the end on Thursday. Either way…It’s a real mess.
Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler