It’s like watching your very best friend leave after a long wonderful visit. You wave goodbye and you feel sadder as the car drives away. Before the car leaves you are reminiscing about the fun times that you just had. That’s exactly how I feel about yesterday’s warm weather. It was very nice outside. We hit the 60s and 70s for most of the region. Norfolk International Airport made it to 70 degrees. I got out during the evening and soaked up some fresh air. Then a strong cold front came through early this morning and dropped the temperatures like a rock:
Some temps were in the 50s and 60s until about 7-8am. Then temps fell to the upper 30s to low 40s. Winds picked up out of the north at 10-20mph behind the front. The winds will stay up and will steadily let the temperatures decrease through the day. We’ll be in the mid 30s around noon with low 30s by the early evening. This will allow the changeover to a wintry mix occur. Keep in mind that the temperatures aloft need to drop to a certain threshold as well. Even more so for snow. That colder air aloft will be even slower to move south. That is why there will be a lengthy period of sleet and freezing rain. Here is what Future Trak shows at 3pm:
Notice that a lot of the area will see rain, but that zone of wintry mix (purple) will have made it as far south as the Peninsula, Middle Peninsula, and Eastern Shore. A lot of this will fall on a wet ground, so it should melt at first. However, the recent snow just melted in some areas north of Hampton Roads. So the ground is probably not as warm north of the metro. Everything slides south through the evening. We’ll see the wintry mix break out during the evening commute in Hampton Roads. This will likely cause slowdowns and problems. Snow will be more prominent on the Peninsula, Eastern Shore, and points northwards during the mid-evening:
The snow band will keep heading south, but the dry air should start to taper it off through 9-10pm. This should limit the snow totals on the Southside and over North Carolina. We’ll dry out overnight, and then temps will drop to the low 20s.
I am expecting varying accumulations of snow and sleet. Here is what our computer model is forecasting for snow totals:
Clearly it is showing the highest amounts from Williamsburg to Exmore and points northward. It doesn’t have much over the Southside and North Carolina. Looking at all of the latest data there is a decent agreement in the higher resolution models on what will happen, but the broader models do show a wetter/colder situation. Using the latest models here is my latest snowfall forecast:
Everything is suggesting that the highest amounts will be towards the Northern Neck, then Northern part of the Middle Peninsula, and northern Accomack county. Temperatures will drop there first. 4 or more inches are possible. Then I have a band of 1-3″ for the rest of the Eastern Shore and Middle Peninsula. This area includes most of the Peninsula except for the south end of Hampton and Newport News. I have an area of a dusting up to 1″ across most of the Southside. This will be mostly on grass. I do think a little more is possible over Norfolk. The north winds have cooled down that city a little early, as the winds are coming off of the colder (32-35degrees) Chesapeake Bay. I expect mostly rain for northeast North Carolina. Here’s the closer view of the above forecast:
One problem that isn’t shown in the above maps is the amount of ice that is possible. Sleet will probably accumulate a bit, and some freezing rain is also possible. The accumulations should be minor, but it is tougher to melt sleet compared to snow. This could create icy spots during the evening. Especially on bridges and overpasses. One other issue is that with the recent melting, the ground is saturated. Today we’ll see about a half inch up to an inch of rain. The rain won’t have anywhere to go. So we’ll have ponding on the roads through the day. Plus, we could see many flooded back yards. Tonight that will freeze up as we’ll see clearing skies and lows in the low 20s. This will create a lot of ice for tomorrow. Plus, the snow that sticks tonight will not melt.
Tomorrow we’ll see partly cloudy skies. High temperatures will only be in the upper 20s. The good news is that the weekend looks good (still). Highs will be in the 40s and 50s. I am a little leery though as some precip has snuck in, last minute, into the weekend forecast during the last couple of weeks. So stay tuned!
Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler