Blog: Warm Tuesday. Snow/wintry mix possible Thursday night into Friday morning

Weather Blog

This morning we started with some areas of thick fog. There were several school delays and lots of slowdowns on the roads.

Fog On Tower Cam

We had some moisture edge into the region, but the warmer temperatures were still on the way. A warm front had made it to the Outer Banks, but not into Hampton Roads. This front will march north through the day. At the same time there is a cold front to our west.

Regional Weather Map

The fog is slowly eroding as I write this. We’ll have clouds building today. There may even be some isolated rain showers this afternoon, but there won’t be much. Winds will start to pick up out of the southwest. This will help raise the temperatures up to the low 60s this afternoon. It will probably be in the upper 50s north of the metro.

By tonight the cold front will move into the region from the west. This will increase our rain showers over the area. Our Future Trak model has backed off of the widespread rain with possible downpours.

Future Trak (tonight)

However, other models do show quite a bit of rain. So I’m still expecting a good amount of rain tonight into tomorrow morning, but I think the amounts will be lighter. Maybe 0.1-0.2″. Either way the showers will end by tomorrow morning. Then we’ll dry out through noon. We’ll probably have some afternoon clearing, but the wind will increase out of the north. Therefore, high temperatures will only top off in the upper 40s.

Then on to Thursday. The overall setup has not changed, but the models have… big time! A very large area of high pressure will form over about 80% of the U.S. This will allow some seasonably cold/dry air to drop down into our area at the surface.

However, at the same time, an area of low pressure will form to our south over northern Florida and southern Georgia. It will move northeast or east/northeast along a stationary front Thursday night into Friday morning. This will push some moisture up into our region in the mid-upper levels. There will also be an upper level short wave move in at the upper levels. The trick is that it’s hard for the models to determine 3 things: The strength of the low, the exact track of the low, and how far north the moisture gets. We will be on the edge of that moisture, but it will definitely cover North Carolina. So as of this writing 2 out of 5 models show hardly anything for Hampton Roads. 3 out of 5 show a mix and some accumulating snow for a good portion of the region.

As I mentioned before…the Euro and the GFS flip-flopped. So now (as of this writing) the Euro has a very dry forecast for Hampton Roads.

Euro (Thursday Evening)
Euro (Friday Morning)

It only shows a small area of mix over North Carolina. Our Future Trak model is in agreement, and it is even drier.

Future Trak (Thursday Evening)

Meanwhile the GFS and the Canadian have some accumulating snow. Take a look at this morning’s version of the GFS model for Thursday evening:

GFS Model (Thursday Evening)
GFS (Friday Morning)

Keep in mind that these models will likely have changed by the time you read this blog. The NAM model and the Canadian also have a pretty big area of mix and snow. However, the NAM is notorious for blowing up coastal lows. Though it does do a good job of modeling the vertical layers of moisture and temperature. However, the Canadian model is a lower resolution model that overdoes a lot of systems. The European model carries a lot of weight, but it’s hard to trust just yet since it did the 24 hour flip. So where does that leave us?

While it’s been a while since we’ve actually had snow, these actions were common when it occurred. Back when we used to get it, the models would flip all the time. Course now we are on the other side of the GFS model upgrade. So that’s a factor. Usually the models would oscillate for a bit. Then they would come together within about 48 hours of the event (or non-event). So we are probably looking at something in the middle instead of a either/or 7-10 split. We’ll probably have a mix of precip in the region reaching up into Hampton Roads or to near the state line. There will definitely be some area of mix over North Carolina. In this there will also probably be some pockets of accumulating snow. Will that be several large areas or a couple of small ones? We’ll see. Here are the latest snow forecasts from both the GFS and the Euro:

Snowfall Forecast (Euro)
Snowfall Forecast (GFS)

Even the GFS does not have a big snow at this point, but it does have some accumulating snow. So by tonight we’ll see which way the models trend. Then we’ll be able to lock down the forecast going into tomorrow morning. Either way the models all agree that Friday will be cold with drying conditions. High temps are aiming for the upper 30s. Then we’ll be cool and dry over the weekend.

Stay tuned for updates on all of this through the day.

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler

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