Friday, January 3, 2014

1/2 Storm Recap and Looking Ahead

This morning's visible satellite shows snow cover across most of south-western VA and areas just north of I-64.
I think my map worked out for most, other than the southern edge of the coating-1" area where not much stuck even for the areas that did eventually change to snow.
Here's a look at snowfall totals from the National Weather Service in Sterling, VA. Unfortunately, the NWS stations out of Wakefield and Blacksburg don't usually put totals in this kind of format. As much as 4.5" was reported in Leesburg.
High pressure to our west will keep things very chilly today with northerly flow. Most areas will struggle to get out of the 20s with even teens up in the mountains. This high will work off to our east during the day on Saturday allowing wind direction to switch to out of the south. Temperatures Saturday will moderate quite a bit with 30s western/northern VA, and low 40s south-eastern areas. We will then watch out next storm system track out of the Ark-La-Tex into the Tennessee Valley and up the western side of the Appalachian Mountains. This is a warm track for us, so I expect the majority of precipitation to fall as rain. This will not be a significant rain maker with the best forcing passing to our north and west. With that being said, we will have to watch for some precipitation to break out well ahead of the main storm system early Sunday morning. We will not have a strong high pressure system over eastern Canada that would usually cause a CAD(cold air damming) event along the eastern side of the mountains, but this current cold air mass may still struggle to erode the area completely by onset. Depending on how early precipitation starts Sunday morning, there may be several hours of freezing rain. The best chance for this would be areas just east of the mountains and north of I-64. Today's 12z gfs model is a bit slower with the start of precipitation, which would limit freezing rain chances. Still something to watch since the canadian/euro are both a good 6 hours quicker.
Temperatures will eventually warm enough during the day Sunday that everyone goes above freezing. The storm will pass during the early morning hours Monday and the trailing cold front will bring in the coldest weather we have seen in quite sometime. Northwest winds will pick up during the day Monday, allowing cold air to surge in and temperatures to crash throughout the day. Lows Monday night will be close to record breaking for many. Below is the 12z gfs forecasted lows. Areas along and west of I-81 will have a decent chance at dropping to below 0 degrees, while areas along the coast may even get down into the mid 10's. No where in Virginia will get above the freezing mark during the day on Tuesday. Highs will be in the 10's across western VA, and 20s for central/se VA. IF you typically have trouble with frozen pipes, be sure to take precautions. It will also be a good idea to be sure that any outdoor pets are brought in/check on elderly/don't make kids wait at bus stop/etc. Temperatures will slowly moderate on Wednesday and Thursday before our next storm potential towards the end of the week.

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