The Storm Prediction Center has all of the area under a "slight risk" for severe wind gusts late in the day Wednesday. While thunderstorms are not expected, the strong cold front will be accompanied by strong winds aloft that may be transported groundward within any of the heavyiest showers.
Morning update on snow totals. Cold air not an issue but moisture is. Quick storm will bring a few hours of snow, coinciding with the evening rush hour. Totals still expected to be highest SOUTH of Richmond.
Looking like totals of any accumulating snow will be greatest over counties closer to the North Carolina line Friday afternoon and early evening. Generally much lighter elsewhere. Keeping the 1" forecast for metro Richmond, even lighter to the northwest, and 1-3" heading towards the southeastern corner of the state.
Light snow could begin sometime around 2pm tomorrow afternoon for areas west of I-95. Most of us may not see any flakes until after 4pm - possibly lasting up until Midnight. That seems like a long time for the snow to pile up, but because of the lack of moisture our totals will be fairly low around metro Richmond. Higher totals will be over southern and southeastern VA as an area of low pressure develops near northeastern North Carolina tomorrow evening.
Morning commuters shouldn't have any trouble in the morning (except the cold), but the evening commutes could be accompanied by snow.
The air arriving tonight is going to be drier than any we've seen this winter or even last winter. With dry air comes low humidity and with low humidity sometimes comes gas station fires/explosions like the one in the link below. The reason is static electricity is higher when the air is dry. A spark from static electricity can start a fire.
Three quick refueling rules from the Petroleum Equipment Institute
1. Turn off engine. 2. Don't smoke. 3. Never re-enter your vehicle while refueling.
The Institute also adds on its website that cell phones do NOT cause fires at the pump.
So far, we have been unable to document any incidents that were sparked by a cellular telephone. In fact, many researchers have tried to ignite fuel vapors with a cell phone and failed.
So, bundle up for the cold and STAY IN THE COLD while you fuel your car. Especially with dry arctic air arrives!
There were a LOT of entries, and it was a close call. Some only a couple of hours off! Here are the runner ups:
1.) Teresa Bennett 2.) Sam Long - Jan 17th 5pm 3.) Mary Dean Carter - Jan 18th 2am 4.) Tineesha Thomas - Jan 17th 4pm 5.) Page Bishop - Jan 17th 2pm 6.) Linda Shavis - Jan 18th 6am 7.) Amy Taylor - Jan 17th 9:12am 8.) Tricia Pruitt - Jan 18th 10:30am 9.) Yvonne Wood - Jan 17th 2am
Check out this radar pic from early this evening. The blue arrows are pointing to lightning. Thundersnow! So, what is it? Well, it's just a thundertorm happening when it's cold enough to snow. We get thunderstorms when there are particularly strong dynamics associated with larger-scale fronts. That's what's been happening tonight. As with summer thunderstorms, the precipitation can be quite intense. That's why thundersnow often brings very fast accumulations of snow. -Jim
Heavy, wet snow still expected Thursday evening. Timing centered from around sunset through 1am. Warmish ground temps and saturated soil would typically prevent much accumulation (lots of melting), but it may come down heavy enough at times to cause a rapid coating and accumulation. For now, we think a widespread swath of 2-5" is likely, especially on grassy areas, with roadways also seeing accumulating snow and slush. -Jim
Guidance has been hinting at the possibility of rain from another system over southern VA Thursday, possibly changing to snow, Thursday evening. Well, the new model runs of both the NAM and GFS from tonight are showing a larger spread of the moisture northward, and then a period of changeover to wet snow as colder air pushes southward. The rain-soaked, relatively warm ground would most likely preclude any accumulations beyond some on grassy areas. We will be monitoring this closely. -Jim