Snow And Ice This RoundMarch 3rd, 2014 at 9:04 am by Jeremy Wheeler under Weather
It was amazing yesterday to be sitting in sunshine and 70s, knowing that the weather would be turning arctic within 24 hours. The change has started already this morning. A cold front moved through last night and temps have been dropping ever since. Temps were in the 30s and 40s when I got into work, but they will fall to the mid 30s, and then to the 20s by the afternoon. The winds were increasing out of the north/northeast. They’ve been increasing to 10-20-mph with gusts to 25mph. We will see gusts up to 35mph this afternoon. Wind chills will fall to the teens.
The precipitation has already started to push into the region. As of 8am, it had already made it to parts of the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula.
The rain/sleet/snow/mix was steadily pushing to the east/southeast. Most of the area is under a Winter Storm Warning until midnight tonight.
The models are in fair agreement about the precipitation coverage, but they differ on amounts and precipitation type. Based off the latest I don’t see this starting as too much rain. I think it will be more sleet at the onset. Generally the models bring the mix to the metro area around the midday hours. Here is what our latest Future Trak model shows at that time:
Notice the band of rain/sleet/snow/freezing rain (purple color) makes it into the metro, while heavy snow (darker blue) pushes into James City County, the Middle Peninsula, Northern Neck, and Accomack county. Snow will start to accumulate quickly in those areas. Even though we had warm weather yesterday the ground hasn’t had a chance to warm up as much. When you quickly throw down ice or snow on the ground, then it overcomes the warmth and will get a chance to accumulate. Ground temperatures are near 40. Between 11am and 2pm the mix will change over to snow across the metro area. Driving will become very difficult. Here is what Future Trak shows at 3pm:
Through 5-7pm the mix and snow will push into North Carolina. It will gradually taper off in Hampton Roads. It should wrap up by about 9pm. We are of course expecting accumulations of snow. Here is the latest forecast:
I haven’t changed it much from Don’s forecast last night. I may have to raise the amounts over Accomack county. Notice most of the metro area is in the 2-4″ range. Here is the closer view with more cities on it.
The big difference that we are highlighting with this system is the potential for accumulating ice and sleet. We’ve already seen reports of it as the system moves in. For now I’m calling for a general 0.1″ to 0.25″ of sleet and/or ice. This will make driving very difficult this afternoon. There will be snow and ice pellets getting ground into roads. This will compress and turn into an icy/snowy mess. Any roads that are treated may have some melting. However, tonight the low temperatures will drop to the low 20s or near 20. This will let those melted areas re-freeze. With the cold temperatures we are likely to have problems again tomorrow morning with the roads. So there may be more school cancellations. Stay tuned.
Tomorrow we will only see highs in the low/mid 30s. So there won’t be much melting. The good thing is that there will be some sunshine tomorrow. We will warm up by Wednesday to the 40s, but there is a slight chance for a shower.
Tides will run about a foot above normal. This should only cause nuisance-type flooding.
There may be some changes to the forecast by midday. It’s possible that we could see more snow than forecast if the changeover happens sooner. Or it’s possible that the sleet will be more prominent. Then there will be less snow, but more ice. Either way there will be accumulations of both. Also either way, driving will be difficult this afternoon. Be safe out there today.
Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler