We are tracking a strong cold front moving into Hampton Roads today. We started the day on the mild side of the front. Locally we were in the 50s while temps had dropped to the teens and single digits across the Midwest.
Rain showers were already increasing over our area, but it was interesting that a lot of the big snow band had decreased north of the front since last night.
The rain showers will be pretty widespread from the mid-morning until the early afternoon. Temps will fall to the upper 40s by noon. Then to the low 40s by the afternoon. There will be a wintry mix forming northwest of Hampton Roads.
Both Future Trak and the NAM (North American Model) are in good agreement through that time. Between 3 and 6pm the mix looks like it will drop into the Hampton Roads Metro. This is where the models all split. The HRRR model (Future Trak Short-Term) shows almost all rain with some smaller pockets of a mix.
Our Future Trak model has the rain changing over to a mix with some snow showers.
It has been the most bullish with snow, but I don’t think it is representing the mix area very well. Here is the middle ground model. It’s the NAM.
It has a big area of mix decreasing in size as it sinks into Hampton Roads. I think it has a better handle on the mix, but does decrease it a little too fast. We’ll see. I’ll add to all of that that the National Weather Service (as of this morning) is calling for mostly rain with a brief mix this evening. Almost everything has drier air moving into the region between 6 and 9pm.
So…. looking at all of that. I think we’re looking at a lot of rain in the region. Likely a cold rain during the afternoon. There will be a mix or rain, sleet, and snow. The models are produced differently. They handle the vertical layers differently between their resolution and their physics. I think there will be a lot more of a mix (than snow) compared to the Future Trak model. There will probably be more rain as well. But we’ll probably see a bigger area of mix compared to the HRRR. Even though temps will fall to the 30s by the evening, we’ll likely be above freezing. The ground will be wet, and it is also pretty warm for snow. Plus, the bay temps are in the 60s. So a lot of the mix will melt. However, if the precipitation comes down heavy over some areas (which is possible), then it may stick to some grassy areas as well as vehicles and decks. However, the roads should be fairly ok. Keep in mind that even wet roads and a few snowflakes could easily slow things down during the evening commute. A couple of bridges/overpasses could be slushy. Again, IF it comes down heavy. But overall I don’t think we’ll have widespread problems.
Tonight the dry air will take over. We’ll go to partly cloudy skies. There could be some sprinkles, flurries, or isolated snow showers over the southern Chesapeake Bay due to the bay effect.
That is caused by much colder air moving over warmer water over a long stretch. We call that fetch. This creates a very small/narrow zone of instability. This effect will last until tomorrow morning. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a dusting on some grassy areas over Norfolk, Virginia Beach, East Hampton, or near Kiptopeke.
Through the day tomorrow we’ll be dry and cold. High temps will only be near 40. The average high for this time of year is in the low-mid 60s. Wind will be out of the north. We’ll be dry and cool on Thursday with highs in the 50s.
The models have changed their tune a bit about Friday into the weekend. They had an area of low pressure forming offshore on Friday, but now they have it lingering into Sunday.
This will be a nor’easter type storm. It will bring us rain and possibly a lengthy duration of northeast winds. That could lead to some tidal flooding. We still have some time to watch this. I’ll have more details tomorrow once we get on the other side of today’s weather.
Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler