Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday Evening (2/13) Weather Discussion

(Posted 7pm)

Today was chilly but really just an appetizer of what's ahead later this weekend.  Arctic front # 2 arrives Saturday afternoon bringing with it an even more severe blast of cold.

Squalls similar to what we saw Thursday will accompany the front...each capable of producing brief heavy snow that will coat the ground in some locations.  The best shot for snow showers in the Shenandoah Valley will be 2 to 8 pm.  It's very possible some of these hold together all the way through central Virginia and effect the Hampton Roads area by late tomorrow evening.  West Virginia upslope locations could pick up an additional 4-8" (Snowshoe saw 9" fall yesterday!).  Remember that it may be sunny one minute and white out conditions the next so be careful on the roads.

18z nam reflectivity for tomorrow afternoon
Another story will be the strong, northwest winds which will pick up behind the front and continue through the day Sunday.  This will be thanks to a tight pressure gradient between low pressure departing to our northeast and strong high pressure building in from Canada.  Gusts could at times exceed 40-50 mph, especially across the higher elevations.  These winds combined with lows dropping well into the single digits will lead to dangerous wind chills as low as 20-30 degrees below zero overnight.

Strong pressure gradient Saturday night-Sunday
We won't see much of a climb Sunday with highs topping off in the 10s across western Virginia and 20s elsewhere.  Expect similar lows Sunday night before finally seeing temperatures moderate the first few days of next week.

I should note that a weak system sliding across the southeast may spread a few over-running snow showers across far southern portions of the state Monday but doesn't look like a huge deal.  Attention then turns towards the Tuesday-Wednesday frame as a disturbance crosses the Gulf and develops low pressure somewhere along the eastern seaboard.

Over the past several days, there's been lots of model waffling on the track of this system.  We've seen anything from a storm cutting to our west to one staying well suppressed to our south and east.  I continue to like the potential for wintry weather, but the upper level steering mechanisms won't fall into place until Sunday at best. In other words, I think it's best to stay in wait-mode and reevaluate once there's a better handle on the strength and position of a few key pieces.  Regardless what happens, it appears we'll see another blast of arctic air drop in behind this system towards the later half of next week.

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