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.
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.
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!
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