As I type this, we're getting closer and closer to snowfall starting. The morning runs of the computer models are in and we are still thinking a decent snow for Metro Richmond and confidence grows for a huge storm at the beach. (see snow forecast map below)
It looks like the first flakes should fall between 4 and 6pm but with minimal accumulation. There may be some light snow prior to that but not much. Later in the evening is when the accumulation should start. Expect a few hours of moderate snow falling between 8pm-2am.
We look closely at the TREND in the short term models as we get closer to the start of snow. The trend is see in the models is to hold the snow forecast steady or maybe even think about raising it slightly.
That said, with storms like this, there will likely be a tight gradient in snow totals, with western suburbs getting much less than the East. It's opposite of what we typically get around here. But with Arctic air firmly entrenched, there's no thought of rain or sleet with this. It's all snow, and no doubt about it.
Check this image: It shows a piece of data from a program we use called "Bufkit" which helps us visualize the forecasted vertical structure of the atmosphere. That black arrow means Snow and the blue dot is about as far from rain as it gets! As you can read: "Entire Sounding Below Freezing." That means it's ARCTIC cold and any snow will likely be fluffy and pile up quickly.