Blog: Higher chance for snow Thursday night!

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It’s always a good feeling when the computer models come together. They started to do that last night. The drier models finally started to show some snow in our region for Thursday night. The already snowier models are holding steady. (Though one has increased even more). I’ll talk briefly about the short-term forecast. Then I’ll get into the chance for snow.

This morning we had widespread light rain turn into scattered rain showers. A cold front was dropping to the south.

Regional Weather Map

Temps were falling from the 50s to the 40s, and the winds picked up out of the north. The showers are ending as I write this blog. We will dry out today. We’ll have some afternoon clearing, but the north winds will keep high temps in the upper 40s to near 50. Much cooler than yesterday.

Tonight we’ll have partly cloudy skies and low temps in the 30s. A large area of high pressure will build over about 80% of the United States tonight into tomorrow.

Forecast Map (Thursday Night)

This will drive down cold air from the north on the eastern side of it. Meanwhile an area of low pressure to our south will push some moisture northward. Over the last 2 days the models disagreed on whether-or-not we would have enough moisture to get any precipitation. After all, there will be some pretty dry air trying to push in from the north at the surface. However, now they only disagree on how much moisture there will be. All of the models have us quiet for the first half of Thursday. We’ll have increasing clouds with temps holding in the 40s. By the late afternoon we’ll have some scattered rain showers move up from the south. This will turn into a wintry mix over part of the region.

Future Trak (Thursday Afternoon)

The moisture will keep increasing into the early evening. Temps will be above freezing at the surface, but they will start dropping. So the wintry mix of rain, sleet, and snow will increase in coverage. In reality I think there will be a larger mix zone than is shown below.

Future Trak (Thursday Evening)

By the later evening hours the mix will become an area of snow showers. This could drop the temperatures enough for the snow to start to stick, but before that point some melting is likely to occur. Ground temps are well above freezing, and water temps are in the upper 40s. So those are both factors. Some of the models develop a snow band that could be moderate for a while. This would likely set up from southwest to northeast. It is fairly evident on the GFS and NAM models.

GFS Model Thursday Night

Our model does show a subtler version of that trend. The models differ on how fast the snow pushes to our south. Our Future Trak model starts to shut things down by about 1-3am.

Future Trak (Friday Morning)

The Euro does as well. The NAM also shuts things down around that time. Maybe a little later, but it is heavier up to that point. The GFS, however, keeps the precip in the area until about 8-9am.

All the models dry us out by mid Friday morning. I mentioned that the models have come together (overall). However, they do differ on the moisture, and therefore they also differ on snow amounts.

Our model and the European model are only showing about a quarter of an inch up to an inch of snow for southeast Virginia.

Snow Forecast (Future Trak)

Keep in mind that in some cases Future Trak doesn’t do well forecasting thin layers of moisture. So these numbers could jump around a bit later today. (Possibly)… The GFS has more snow totals, and it is more spread out.

Snow Forecast (GFS)

The NAM has the most. I actually won’t show it here, because I think it’s very overdone. It tends to blow up coastal lows, and it is not in line with the other models. I will say though that it has over 5″ over much of the area.

Looking at all of the models I put together a snow forecast this morning. Here it is:

Snow Forecast

I am keeping with the trend of higher amounts over North Carolina and lesser amounts north of the metro. I have less near the shore along the bay and the ocean. Here’s my thinking as to why: The water temps are in the upper 40s right now. With a northerly wind that should keep the temps up a bit closer to the water. If the snow comes down heavy for a time, then that might overcome that effect. We’ll see. Also, ground temps are above freezing, and our Future Trak model has the surface air temperatures in the mid-upper 30s during a lot of the time when the precip falls. So while I do think that melting will take away from some of the totals, I do think snow will fall heavy enough for it to stick.

With the current amounts forecast, I think there will be a good amount of melting on Friday during the day. The sun will pop out. However, if we get some higher amounts (3 inches or more) then that might allow the snow to stick around until Saturday. High temps will rise to the 50s over the weekend. So far the weekend looks dry.

Stay tuned for updates.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler

Snow Tracker

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