The storm is pretty much on track as expected, with heaviest snowfall overnight over southeastern Virginia, where there are winter storm warnings in effect.
Farther inland, there will be a sharp gradient between the really heavy snow to the southeast, and lighter amounts to the west. Even over the metro Richmond area, the western portions may only see 1-2" while eastern and southern portions 2-5".
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.
Good morning-- a quick early morning post regarding our snow map.
Not much change since Ros updated the map at 11pm. We think Metro RVA gets 2-4" but 5" is easily reachable (especially East of town). The computer models are trending HIGHER with the Richmond snow totals. Be prepared for major impact on roads this evenign.
No snow expected until between 4 and 6pm today. Morning and midday commutes will be fine but the evening ride home could be dicy.
Well, late night computer data has come in and shows much better agreement than it did earlier today. In fact, that sharp dividing line between "SNOW" and "NO SNOW" that we talked about in the earlier newscasts has now shifted farther west into the heart of Central Virginia. Therefore, our snowfall forecast has thus increased over much of Central Virginia. Roughly a 2"-4" storm now expected for metro Richmond...1"-2" out toward Farmville, 4"-6" from Emporia to the Tri-Cities and Williamsburg, and 6"+ from Matthews and Gloucester counties south into Hampton Roads. Snow arrives later in the afternoon and picks up by early evening. Best accumulating snowfall for areas near the I-95 and I-85 corridor appears to be from around 7pm to 1am. Be sure to check in with Andrew Frieden tomorrow morning on 12 News Today starting at 4:30 am. He will have any changes in the advisories over the area as well as an updated hour by hour forecast. Have a good night! -ROS
As of now, I'm going 60% (and climbing) chance of snow tomorrow late afternoon/evening through early Wednesday AM. I haven't gotten specific with totals yet on TV. I will at noon. A dusting to 2” seems like a best bet now—as an impressive southern track storm could clip us with some snow as it flies by to our Southeast. Sadly, this is a low confidence forecast. It could completely miss us.This has a HIGH potential to be a complete miss.
Any snow would make roads bad for Tuesday's PM Rush and Wednesday's AM rush. And even if it’s only 1 or 2 inches, it’ll be a HIGH IMPACT snow, like last Tuesday’s was. Roads will be cold and the snow won't melt on Wednesday, with a high in the 20s.
[BTW: The snow forecast is much higher toward Virginia Beach where they might get 6" of snow plus big winds Tomorrow evening and night]
Let's check the trends on the models, in which the short term NAM has showed a steady shift toward us with snow. Here's the overnight model run showing precipitation from 7-10pm. Not much there, right?
Now, let's check the SAME model but it's run through the computers 6 hours later. Keep in mind, all the gray/green would be snow since an arctic airmass will be in place.
This recent run tags Central Virginia (Richmond) with some liquid to work with from about sunset tomorrow through sunrise Wednesday. And this has been the general trend of all the models over the past 24 hours...
After schools finally open for business, we might be closing them again soon if the trends continue. I'll have the latest on TV and streaming online at noon.
The wind chill is supposed to tell us how cold it'll feel on exposed skin, when you factor in the blowing wind.
Many people misunderstand it, though. Although a blowing wind can cool you off, it can not cool you off to a temperature below the REAL temperature.
For instance, if you place a cup of water outside when it's 33° with a 40 mph wind...it will never dip below 32° and freeze, even if the Wind Chill Temperature is 13°. The glass of water WILL cool off quicker than when there's no wind but it won't freeze.
Food for thought on this cold morning, Post by Andrew Freiden
Wind Chill Advisory is in effect 3am-noon Wednesday. Very cold air is working its way into Virginia, and gusty winds will make for below-zero windchills at times through Wednesday morning.
Snow will taper and end tonight with overall totals coming in at between an inch to 3" so far.
There will be blowing of the snow that did fall into Wednesday.
The cold temperatures will stay with us through the end of the week.
This map shows our expected snow totals Tuesday. Some of the late evening guidance Monday night is showing less than previously, and also hinting precipitation could begin with some rain around midday. We will be monitoring this storm closely for any modifications that need to be made to this forecast, but at this point do not see enough information to warrant a change.
TUESDAY SNOW UPDATE (LATE AFTERNOON MONDAY): Overall, not any major changes to the forecast today. We still think 3" to as much as 6" is possible here in metro Richmond. The snow totals have been upped a bit in areas to the north from Charlottesville, east to Fredericksburg, out to the Northern Neck...4"-8" of snow is likely there...with some localized amounts of up to 10" on the Northern Neck. Lighter amounts of snow are expected south of Richmond...on the order of about 2"-4" from Farmville, east to the Tri-Cities over to Williamsburg. South of the Tri-Cities down to the North Carolina border, 1"-2" of snow is expected. Light snow will arrive from west to east through the morning into early afternoon...the heaviest snow will fall by mid to late afternoon into early evening as temperatures begin to take a plunge....winds will become very gusty too...gusts as high as 35 mph by late afternoon and evening. Roads will be treacherous for travelers during the typical evening rush hour. Be safe if you must be out and about later tomorrow. More updates to come as needed. -METEOROLOGIST ROS RUNNER