Where is Spring?

March 23rd, 2014 at 8:55 pm by under Weather

The calendar shows that we are 3 days into the spring season, but Mother Nature is a bit confused. Temperatures were about 30-40 degrees cooler than yesterday. I captured this graphic around 6 PM. Temperatures were in the low to mid 70s around 6 PM yesterday. Today, temperatures were in the 30s around 6 PM. What a difference a day makes!

24-Hour Temperature Change

24-Hour Temperature Change

Rain showers moved in during the afternoon and continued into the early evening hours. We received lots of reports of sleet and snow mixing in with the rain. The atmosphere was cold enough to support sleet and snow, but the warm layer close to ground helped to melt some of the frozen precipitation. But some of the sleet pellets and snowflakes survived the trip to the ground. I also noticed a very interesting feature on Super Doppler 10 radar earlier this afternoon. I captured this graphic around 4 PM.

Super Doppler 10 Around 4 PM

Super Doppler 10 Around 4 PM

Notice the yellow and the orange colors on the radar. Well, this radar feature is called bright banding. This feature shows the freezing layer in the atmosphere. The warm layer just above the ground allowed the snowflakes to melt. When snowflakes melt, the result is ice coated with water.  The water coating has a much higher reflectivity on radar. Therefore, it appears as large raindrops or heavy rain falling, when in reality wet snowflakes/sleet pellets are falling instead.

Monday will much drier and much colder. Highs will only be in the upper 30s and lower 40s. At least we will see plenty of sunshine! :)

Computer models are coming into better agreement on Tuesday’s storm. Like yesterday, the models continue to push the location of the low farther and farther east. What does this mean? It means we will see less snow and more rain. We may see a few showers in the morning, but better chances for rain will be in the afternoon and evening. Scattered rain showers are likely around 12 PM.

Future Trak at 12 PM Tuesday

Future Trak at 12 PM Tuesday

Notice that winds will be out of the southeast bringing in some warmer air close to the surface. At this point in time, temperatures should be in the lower 40s. Even though Future Trak is showing all rain, I still think we could see areas with a rain/snow mix, similar to what we saw earlier this evening. If we see a quick period of snow throughout the day, it will not accumulate. Temperatures will be in the low to mid 40s and the rain will help to melt the snow. Plus ground temperatures are in the 50s, which will work against any accumulation. If we do see any light accumulations, it will be Tuesday night. This is when our winds will turn more northerly and start bringing in the colder air at the surface. Notice that the rain changes over to all snow across our northern zones. There will be a very short window when we could see snow Tuesday night.

Future Trak at 12 AM

Future Trak at 12 AM Wednesday

Temperatures should still be above freezing for most locations at 12 AM Wednesday. But temperatures will be closer to 32° across our northern areas, which could allow for light snow accumulations on desks, cars and grassy surfaces. With that being said, here is my snowfall accumulation for Tuesday.

Tuesday Snow Accumulation

Tuesday Snow Accumulation

A dusting possible from Williamsburg and points north and around 1 inch possible for the Northern Neck and Accomack County along the Eastern Shore.  These amounts take into account that we will see a band of wrap around snow on the backside of the area of low pressure. If we don’t see any moisture Tuesday night, then these amounts will be too high. Just because most of the region isn’t in the highlighted area doesn’t mean you won’t see sleet or snow. This is just a map of potential accumulation. Thankfully this is not going to be a big storm for us in Hampton Roads. Keep in mind that we have forecast temperatures falling below 32 degrees over the next couple of mornings. If you have any sensitive vegetation, it would be a good idea to bring potted plants indoors and to cover any exposed plants at night.

-Meteorologist Tiffany Savona

Leave a Reply