Tuesday, March 3, 2015

First Call for Spring Snowstorm

(Posted 3/3 7pm)

Winter storm watches have been issued across the entire Shenandoah Valley Wednesday evening through Thursday morning.

This remains a tricky setup..with cold air crashing in behind cold front (this after temperatures get up near 50 Wednesday afternoon) gradually changing rain over to snow from northwest to southeast.

In yesterday's blog I mentioned my skepticism about more than a few inches across the Valley. Based off everything I've seeing today, I had to raise these amounts.

GFS maps via WxBell
I think the two maps above do a great job showing the complexity of the setup.  If cold air gets hung up at all or precipitation moves out faster than expected, snow amounts will need to be cut big time. While my concerns from yesterday still exist, there just comes a point where consistent, aggressive model guidance can't be ignored less under 36 hours from the start of an event.  

With that said, here is my first call.  Thinking anywhere from 1-3" inches across the southern Valley to as much as 6"+ up towards Winchester.  Keep in mind that higher elevations will likely switch over to snow faster (the Highlands and Blue Ridge) meaning locally higher amounts possible there. As for timing, expect showers through Wednesday afternoon and evening...gradually changing to snow from northwest to southeast after midnight.  Heaviest snow will fall through the morning and into the afternoon Thursday before tapering off Thursday evening.

With such a tricky event, be sure to check back tomorrow evening for my final call.

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