Tropicfreak's Central Virginia Weather Blog

Warm and Wet Pattern Ahead ; No Snow in Sight

By: tropicfreak, 3:11 AM GMT on February 27, 2012

Good evening all. As if circumstances couldn't be any crazier, mother nature has decided to mess around with us some more. After picking up anywhere from 3-6" across the metro Sunday, just 3 days later, we had highs in the 70s, and Thursday, we were under a moderate risk of severe weather, which is a rare occurrence around here. Highs that day topped out at 80! Quite a contrast from the 30s and snow just a few days earlier. Thankfully no one was hurt. A small tornado did touch down in Matthews County causing some damage, but there were no casualties. Also across southern metro, hail was anywhere between 1.0" and even up to 1.5" in diameter! Nobody was hurt from that either. Since then we've been dealing with a seasonably cool weekend, and a bit of a blustery one at times. We have indeed been thrown into a bit of a tailspin over the past few weeks, but it's not uncommon to have variations in our weather pattern this late in the winter season.

As the season begins to wind down, temperatures will remain seasonable or above average for much of this week. Throughout this week highs will be in the low to mid 60s, with the exception of Wednesday where we could top out at the 70° mark. There are a few chances of rain, and even thunderstorms as well. Wednesday there is a good bet of some showers and even thunderstorms. Severe weather is not anticipated at this time, but nonetheless, it should be monitored. Another rain chance will arrive early next weekend, and that will also bring rain with that. Past the 7 day forecast, even into the extended forecast, there are no signs of any wintry weather. We'll keep watching though. Though, after our snowstorm last weekend, I am pretty content with our winter now that we got our decent snow in. Bring on the thunderstorms and severe weather!

Summary of Last Weekend's Snowstorm

That storm was quite a pain in the butt to forecast, to say the least. Through at least 18z the night before, models were fairly consistent with dropping a good amount of snow over us. Suddenly on 00z, a few models such as the NAM completely shafted us leaving us snowless, however, I did not buy into the solution, knowing that the NAM hasn't performed very well in forecasting this storm, nor has the GFS which has dealt with many errors as well. Therefore, I stuck with my forecast of 4-7" for the metro. Around 9am Sunday morning, flurries and ice pellets began to fall across much of the metro area. I figured it would quickly changeover to all rain as forecasted. Much to my surprise, and pleasure, instead of changing to rain, it stayed all snow, at least for me, with sleet mixing in at times when precipitation fell lighter. With the temperatures above freezing though, it had a really tough time sticking, and never really began to accumulate until mid afternoon, when more steady, persistent snow fell. As that period ended, I picked up 0.5" of snow, though it was not over. As the low passed by, there was a lot of upper level energy, allowing a very heavy snow band to set up to our south. Around 6 pm, it moved into the metro area, and snowfall rates of 1-1.5" per hour continued for a good 2-3 hours. In that time period, I picked up an additional 3" of snow. It immediately began to accumulate to the roads, and that caught those who were traveling off guard. As a matter of fact, at the peak of the heavy snow, in just 1 1/2 hours, police had to respond to over 150 accidents! Shows how great us Richmonders can drive in the snow, right? After 8-9pm the snow began to taper down a bit, though it still came down at a moderate clip. By midnight, it tapered to light snow and ended at 3 am. All in all, I picked up 4.4" from that storm, the airport picked up 3.9". I believe I did pretty well with my snowfall accumulations. The few days following the snowstorm, the snow was gone in a hurry due to the warm temperatures and the high sun angle.

Have a great week!

TF

Rain Tornado Wind Snow Thunderstorms

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Significant Winter Storm Expected For Sunday.... Snow?????

By: tropicfreak, 10:09 PM GMT on February 17, 2012

For the past week or so, Richmond has been sucked into a whirlwind of weather, from thunder snow last Saturday to 50s and 60s this week. Prior to that, winter was seemingly slipping through our hands like sand in an hour glass. Since then, the buzz has been indeed the winter storm this weekend. Let's break it down for you.

We start off Saturday morning with partly cloudy skies with lows around freezing. It will be another nice day, much like today with highs in the upper 50s with clouds on the increase especially throughout the late afternoon hours. Rain will begin sometime around midnight or shortly thereafter. Areas to our northwest will start as all snow and will be snow for the whole duration of the event. We will likely hit our high in the upper 30s by daybreak, and cold air will filter in dropping our temps throughout the day. By the lunch hour or shortly thereafter we will see that changeover from rain to snow. (with sleet in between of course but no issues with ice) The snow could get heavy at times and could bring us some decent totals. The snow will come to an end from west to east in early Monday morning. Thankfully (or not) Monday is a holiday so the morning commute should be light. If you are heading out to work Monday morning please be careful as the roads will be slippery, and the secondary roads may even be snow covered.

Snowfall Accumulations

For right now, I am going down the middle path looking at the models and going with 4-7" for much of the metro, with greater amounts up to 10", locally a foot in some spots off to our west. The lesser amounts will be east of I-95 where I believe 1-3" will fall. This will all depend on
A) The track of the low
B) How quick the transition is.
C) How heavy will it fall.

If it slows down, the cold air can move in at the onset of precipitation (if those trends continue we could start out as a sleet/snow mix quickly changing to all snow) and that would mean greater snowfall totals. If it speeds up, that would mean less snow. The track does appear to be locked in place for the most part, albeit a slight southward trend on all models but the NAM. Most models do continue to slow this down a bit too, so my 4-7" could be adjusted a bit higher after the 00z model suite tonight, if the trend continues. Regardless, what is for certain is, we will see snow, and we will likely see an accumulating snow, a storm of many proportions that we haven't experienced since the Boxing Day Storm of 2010.

Right now, Winter Storm Watches are in effect for counties to our NW such as Albemarle, Charlottesville, and other counties along I-81, including the cities of Staunton and Harrisonburg. They could pick up up to a foot of snow in those locations. For now, no watches are issued for the metro, though I do suspect that Wakefield will put out watches for all of metro and surrounding areas that haven't been put under a watch (exception would be SE VA, and Hampton Roads, where they will only pick up a dusting) and perhaps later on Winter Storm Warnings or advisories for our area. Stay tuned and have a great weekend.

I'll have another update later on tonight if not tomorrow morning.

Have a great weekend!
TF

Snow Rain Winter Weather Nor'Easter

Updated: 12:34 AM GMT on February 18, 2012

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About tropicfreak

Live in Richmond VA. I'm a recent high school graduate who is looking to pursue a career in meteorology. Winter storms and the tropics fascinate me.

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