The weather has been all over the place lately. Just yesterday we saw high in the 30s. Today, highs were in the 40s and 50s and tomorrow we are looking at highs in the 60s! We will warm up tomorrow out ahead of our next cold front. Enjoy the 60s tomorrow because we are looking at big changes by Monday. Over the past few days, the computer models all agreed that a strong cold front would move in on Monday. What they didn’t agree on was the amount of moisture available once the front moved through the region. As with a lot of cold fronts that move through Hampton Roads, we usually see the moisture move out before the cold air really gets a chance to settle in. This time, the cold air will be in place well before the upper level disturbance moves into the region. It looks like we will have enough moisture and upper level energy in order to produce all kinds of wintry precipitation on Monday. The National Weather Service has already issued a Winter Storm Watch for the Middle Peninsula, Northern Neck and Accomack County along the Eastern Shore that goes into effect on Monday. I wouldn’t be surprised if a Winter Weather Advisory is issued for areas farther south.
Winter Storm Watch For All Areas In Blue
This doesn’t mean that the rest of the region won’t see wintry weather. The areas in blue just show where the highest snow totals will be on Monday. Here is what our latest Future Trak model is showing at 7 AM. A mix of sleet/snow is possible from the Peninsula northward.
Future Trak at 7 AM Monday
At this time, temperatures will still be in the upper 30s and lower 40s. By 12 PM, the snow/sleet mix will have moved all the way south into North Carolina. Temperatures will now be hovering near the freezing mark for almost everyone at this point, so we should begin to see the snow/sleet accumulate. There will be a shallow warm layer (temperatures above 32°) several thousand feet above the ground, so the areas in the pink should see a good mix of sleet and snow. If there is a thicker warm layer, then we could see a greater potential for freezing rain. Freezing rain is rain that falls, then freezes on surfaces where temperatures are at 32 degrees or below.
Future Trak at 12 PM Monday
Strong northerly winds blowing at 15-25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph will usher in much colder air throughout the day. Therefore, I think this model is showing too much pink (mix) across our northern areas. Computer models are typically a little too slow to bring in the cold air. With the cold air rushing in, I think we will see a transition to ALL snow from north to south during the afternoon. That is why our northern areas will likely end up with higher totals overall. Keep in mind that the sleet/freezing rain will cut down on overall snow accumulations. Any ice accumulation from sleet/freezing rain will make travel even more dangerous than just snow covered roads. If we see less of a mix, then snow accumulations will go up. This is going to be a very tricky forecast because any slight change in the temperature could mean a change in precipitation type. Here is my latest snow totals map for Monday.
Snow Totals Map
The highest totals are going to be from Richmond back towards Charlottesville and points to the north. But we will still have a good chance for some accumulating snow here too, just not as much. Some of our computer models are going higher than these totals and some are going lower. I do think we will see a mix for a while, especially across the Southside and Northeast North Carolina before changing over to all snow. Areas north of the Southside should see a mix at first, but should see snow for a longer period of time. This map will definitely change over the next 48 hours, so stay tuned!
We talked about temperatures falling throughout the day on Monday. Here is a graphic showing Monday’s forecast temperatures starting at midnight through 4 PM.
Falling Temps on Monday
With the strong northerly wind, wind chill values will be in the teens Monday afternoon and single digits Monday night. Plus the wind will be blowing the snow around, reducing visibilities. Travel is not recommended Monday afternoon/evening especially if you plan on going north of Hampton Roads.
Highest wind speeds will occur late Monday night out of the north-northeast. This could lead to some nuisance tidal flooding at Sewells Point (Southside) around 11 PM (high tide).
Any snow/sleet accumulations will not have a chance to fully melt on Tuesday. Lows will be in the 20s and highs will only reach 32°. The cold weather will continue into Wednesday with highs only in the 30s.
-Meteorologist Tiffany Savona