Today started off with quite a bit of clouds overhead. An upper level low is sliding offshore, and high pressure is building in at the surface. It’s been tough to clear out on some of these days lately. Even though the models would often show a rosy scenario. I’m talking about the days that haven’t had rain, and there’s been quite a few of those. So today I’m hopeful that we get some clearing and that it stays for a bit. High pressure will stick around for the next 2 days. We’ll be dry and chilly with highs in the 40s. It will be a little breezy today, but the wind will die down tonight and tomorrow.
There is an area of low pressure off to our west over the central U.S. that is developing.
That area of low pressure is going to play a big part in our forecast on Friday. Let’s talk about it. The low is forecast to move to the east/southeast over the next 48 hours. By Friday morning it will be to our south near the Carolinas, and it will be gaining some strength. It will push a lot of moisture up into our region. There will be a moderate upper level low overhead. The low will move east/northeast through the day. There may be a brief mix in the morning as the deep moisture pushes in. Then we’ll have cold rain for the bulk of the day. This could then change into a wintry mix by the later evening hours. If you want snow, then you typically want a strong area of high pressure to our north/northwest with a moderate or strong area of low pressure to our southeast.
The strong high forces cold air southward at the surface, and the moisture rams into that could air. This setup can produce big snows. However, on Friday the pattern will be a little different. The high will be farther away. The low won’t be too strong. Also it will be a little more north.
So While there will probably be some snow over central and western Virginia. I think a lot of our region will mainly see a cold rain. At least for the bulk of the day. There may be a change over in the evening.
The latest models are in disagreement on how much cold air will be in the area, and how much moisture makes it northward. For now I am in agreement with the GFS model that there will be a brief mix in the region Friday morning. Possibly even a little light snow to the west/northwest.
The GFS, Euro, and Future Trak all show cold rain in our region during the day Friday with the exception of the GFS mix Friday morning.
The NAM has an initial band of snow or mix moving northward, but the hi-res version of that only has a small area of mix through the early afternoon. (update…The 12Z hi-res NAM now shows snow north of the metro during the evening).
Many of the models do have a sizeable area of snow over western Virginia and North Carolina during part of the day. Maybe even to central Virginia/North Carolina. High temps in our region though will be in the 40s.
By the evening they have the low moving off the coast to the northeast. They do wrap in colder air, but again…they differ on how soon that happens. This will be the time for the rain to possibly change to a mix. Here is the Euro and the GFS for Friday night.
This run of the GFS looks more wet than white Friday night, but I think there would be more of a mix on the northern edge of the precip shield. We’ll see what future runs show. A couple of the models do have some mixed precip continuing into Saturday morning. Well behind the system. Then they dry us out for the rest of the weekend.
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen snow. We had that big snow last February in the region, but there was a lot of melting in the heart of Hampton Roads. This was due to the strong winds off of the warm Chesapeake Bay. So Norfolk only ended up with a couple tenths of an inch of snow on the ground with a few inches inland.
I don’t think we’ll have much snow stick in the region with this upcoming event. Even if it does come down as snow showers. The ground is still fairly warm. The Water Temps are in the 40s, and the wind will be off the water for a while. Also the ground will be very wet from the rain and recent rainfall. Surface temps will probably stay above freezing all the way into Saturday morning. (Probably). While it may be an uphill battle, accumulating snow is not out of the question. So stay tuned for updates.
Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler