This forecast panel is what we think will happen a little after midnight Wednesday following the initial few hours of heavy snow Wednesday evening. A probable changeover to freezing rain and cold rain along the I-95 and I-85 corridor will bring a sudden end to accumulating snow in those areas. This includes much of metro Richmond. We'll see if this trend continues to be indicated in future model runs, but it makes sense given the weather set-up we're dealing with, as the cold air source, high pressure east of New England, will be moving farther away and warmer air comes in aloft.
There will consequently be a very sharp gradient of snow totals over central Virginia.
Andrew will have updates in the AM!
The bigger slice I added in yellow makes me nervous. We're going to be watching a layer of warm air that could cut into this total by changing it over to freezing rain or sleet for a while tomorrow night.
Our fluffy January snow forecasts were all about "how much snow?" This forecast is a lot about "how long will it be snow (vs. freezing rain or sleet)?"
This is our snowcast map for the upcoming storm as of Monday evening update time. Note the zone of 4-8" predicted for central Va and metro RVA area due to greater liklihood of a change to freezing rain from snow than points farther west, where precip will fall mostly as snow, with subsequent higher totals predicted.
This remains a tricky set-up, with a warm nose of air aloft pushing west Wednesday night forcing a changeover along the I-95 corridor. Any slight shift in this, either farther west or east, will mean shifts in the snow "zones" the same directions.
Good morning... a quick update at 11:25. As we get closer, the trend looks SNOWIER with less sleet/freezing rain. Also, onset of snow on Wednesday keeps getting pushed back. Ros is working up new maps/forecasts now.
He'll have the latest at noon on TV and streaming online.
Our past two storms were fluffy snow with the only forecast challenges being HOW MUCH we'd get. Now, appears like we are back to normal with all precipitation types on the table.
The now-famous European Model has been persistent on this storm for days now, so we watch each run of the model (twice daily) for subtle hints and changes.... This morning, I notice a couple of quick things to mention.
1) Snow start time (wednesday afternoon) is trending later Now, it looks like the start time would be afternoon in RVA versus the morning.
2) Storm looks plenty strong but a smidge closer to the coast, which would mean a quicker changeover to rain in Richmond (Wednesday night) after a period of heavy snow.
Here's a look at the ONSET of the storm, which will probably be snow.
Then transition through precipitation types would probably happen Wednesday night.
Here's the Wednesday NIGHT forecast:
See how warm air "eats" away at the storm from the SE? a tough forecast going forward with potential big snow toward the mountains with mainly rain at the coast. Richmond: stuck in between.
For planning purposes: both Wednesday evening and Thursday morning's commutes could be BAD.
LATE SUNDAY NIGHT WINTER STORM UPDATE: Well, new computer data coming into the weather office tonight not prompting any major changes to the forecast as of yet....one thing that has changed is that the onset of the snow may be delayed a bit from what I had described earlier this evening. Based on this new data, the snow is likely to hold off until late Wednesday morning, and it's possible we don't see the first flakes falling until sometime Wednesday afternoon.
So ultimately, what is the key to how much snow we can expect to fall over Central Virginia? Well, one problem we have to face if you're a snow lover is the fact that the cold ridge of high pressure centered to our north will be sliding off the coast. What then becomes critical is the ultimate track of the area of low pressure....is it just offshore? right along the shoreline? or does the low track more inland? This will be crucial in determining how far west and northwest the rain/snow line will move into interior Virginia.....the farther offshore that the low tracks, the more snow we are likely to see here in the heart of Central Virginia. I still think several inches of snow are possible before any changeover would occur, but a shift in track of the low further inland would end up bringing us more rain in Richmond than anything else.
I know there is a hunger to know exactly "how much" you might expect to see in your neighborhood right now...maybe you live in Matoaca, or Blackstone, Reedville, Short Pump, Midlothian or Ashland etc....I am confident we will get a more clear picture of the storm track over the next 24-36 hours and be able to give you a more specific "how much" to expect in your area. Stay tuned for more updates, and as always, thanks for watching! Have a great night! -ROS RUNNER. You can fine me on Facebook at facebook.com/Ros Runner NBC12 Weather.
The videos you are seeing of snow not melting when a lighter is held to them? They are interesting but not a sign of an evil government conspiracy. Put the snow in a pot or in the microwave (or just wait) and it'll eventually melt.
The snow turning black? Just soot from the lighter. Hold it there long enough and the snow will eventually melt.
The storm is pretty much on track as expected, with heaviest snowfall overnight over southeastern Virginia, where there are winter storm warnings in effect.
Farther inland, there will be a sharp gradient between the really heavy snow to the southeast, and lighter amounts to the west. Even over the metro Richmond area, the western portions may only see 1-2" while eastern and southern portions 2-5".