As of Friday evening, preliminary indications were that we’d see this thing hit late Monday afternoon and into the evening hours. It’s now looking much sooner than that…with rain hitting us by around 5:00 AM Monday and quickly changing over to a wintry mix by 7:00 AM and even some snow beginning from Williamsburg northward. The wintry mix (mainly sleet pellets) will likely continue for an hour or two before changing over to all snow from north to south into the Hampton Roads cities by around noon. North Carolina can expect the wintry mix by late morning…changing over to all snow by around 1:00 or 2:00 PM. The height of the snowfall for most of us will likely be in the early to late afternoon.
Here are a couple of variations of the NAM forecast model indicating snowfall totals before it ends early Monday evening.You will note the possibility of 4″ to 6″ of snow in areas from Williamsburg through the Northern Neck! I have not included the (later-arriving) GFS model here; this model has indicated far heavier snow than what would be indicated by the ongoing situation. So the GFS is being watched, but discounted for being “off” by a lot. The 7:00 AM European model run will not be complete until mid-afternoon, but earlier model runs fall roughly into line with the above projections from the NAM.
A couple more graphics here. First, here is a snowfall total map from our very capable friends at the National Weather Service in Wakefield:This map is in line with current thinking about the “placement” of the snow (in an east-west orientation), but is somewhat heavier farther south than what the above NAM maps indicate. With the models showing a trend toward farther south and sooner in the day, this map may be an anticipation of the upcoming forecast models continuing the farther south trend. And a slight nod toward the too-heavy GFS. If sleet continues longer before snow begins (& it could), then the above snow totals would likely be lessened somewhat.
Here’s the snow totals map put together this morning by my colleague, Jeff Edmondson:And this is pretty much in line with all thinking on the upcoming storm. One thing to note: When we talk about “ice accumulations” here, we’re talking about sleet pellets and freezing rain, but mostly sleet. Sleet gets easily crushed into the pavement by tire treads creating ice. Sleet is bad enough, but freezing rain is horrendously destructive and especially dangerous on the roads. At this point, freezing rain could be a problem, but not a huge one. With the temperature dropping rapidly on Monday morning, any water falling from the sky and on roads (& especially bridges!) could quickly freeze as temperatures drop to around 27° or 28°. One thing in our favor on all of this is that the soil temperature is in the 40° to 45° range, thus more easily melting any icy stuff that initially hits the ground. Of course with snow pretty much everywhere through the region by early Monday afternoon, tire treads will turn all that snow into ice on virtually all roads.
These maps and forecasts are still subject to change as we draw closer to the actual event, so be sure to stay informed in the next 24 to 36 hours. Jeff Edmondson will be on the air between 6:00 & 7:00 this evening. I will be filling in for Tiffany Savona for FOX43 News at 10 and WAVY News 10 at 11. Jeremy Wheeler and Jeff will be with you from 4:30 AM through 1:00 PM tomorrow. Tiffany Savona and I will take over at 1:00 PM through the evening hours tomorrow.
Here we go again!