Light snow possible Thursday night

Posted on: 8:48 am, December 31, 2013, by and , updated on: 01:20pm, January 2, 2014

THURSDAY MID-DAY UPDATE

Rain is moving into southwest and western Virginia, which you can track on our Interactive Radar HERE. In the colder parts of northwestern Virginia, the precipitation is already falling as snow. Rain will reach Richmond between 4 and 5 p.m., and rain steadily through Midnight. At Midnight, I expect the rain to change over to snow in the Metro. Ground temperatures will still be above freezing at that time, so that will limit some of our already meager snowfall accumulation potential.

As I see it now, this is what I expect for snowfall tonight in Virginia:

Bc_m7ziCAAAoZeA.png large

I only expect some lingering flurries in the eastern Peninsulas by sunrise.  If you want to see an inch of snow, you’ll have to head north. I expect the southern DC Metro to get closer to an inch of snowfall, so keep that in mind if you live or travel northbound Friday morning. You may encounter a slippery commute! It only takes a coating of snow on roads to make a commuting mess, especially in congested northern Virginia.

THURSDAY MORNING UPDATE

You’ll notice thickening cloud-cover over us today as moisture surges north into Virginia from the Gulf and Atlantic. Most of today will be dry, but I expect our first rain showers to reach western and southern Virginia around 2 p.m., and get to the Metro around 4 p.m.

The storm system approach us from the south will intensify off of the Southeast coastline today, moving east of Virginia and deepening along the New England coast early Friday. At the same time this coastal system intensifies, cold air coming from another storm system will track from the Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic. Those two puzzle pieces will merge into the first big winter storm of the year for New England, where a foot or more snowfall is possible through Saturday.

But for us in central Virginia, here’s what you can expect. Thursday afternoon highs will reach the upper 40s and lower 50s. Rain moves into central Virginia through the afternoon hours. By dark, most of us will be getting at least light rain showers. This means a wet evening commute for you.

Rain showers will continue across the Commonwealth this evening, but that colder air from our northwest will begin to ooze southward. That will cause rain to change over to snow.  The change will occur in all of northwest Virginia by mid-evening.  The switch will move to the Richmond metro area around midnight.  Light snow will continue in central and eastern Virginia through Dawn Friday. I expect the final flakes to exit the Metro around 6 a.m., leaving about a quarter-inch of snowfall on the ground. The farther south of Richmond you are, the less snowfall you’ll get. Petersburg may only get a dusting, for example. The farther north of Richmond you are, the closer to a half-inch to an inch of snow you could receive (because the rain changes to snow sooner there). I expect the southern DC Metro Area to get about an inch.

As of this update, there are no winter weather advisories, watches or warnings in central Virginia. CLICK HERE TO CHECK THE LATEST ALERTS. This is because disruptive accumulation is not likely.

What accumulation can you expect? There is only a slim chance for any snow dusting southern Virginia.  There is a slight chance of a coating to about half an inch accumulation in the metro, mainly on grass, roofs and cars.  Areas north of I-64, from the Northern Neck back through Caroline, Spotsylvania, Orange, Culpeper & Greene counties, could see a coating to around 1″ of snow.  Accumulation there will start on the grass, but the last few hours of snow could cause a light accumulation on roads across the northern third of Virginia, which would mean a slick Friday morning commute. Check for any closings or delays HERE. Snow will exit by daybreak Friday

WEDNESDAY EVENING UPDATE

Some rain showers will develop Thursday afternoon and last through the evening.  Highs will reach the upper 40s and lower 50s.

As colder air moves in Thursday night, rain will change over to snow.  The change will occur in northwest Virginia by mid-evening.  The switch will move to the Richmond metro area between midnight and 3 a.m. blogsnapblogsnap2

The duration of snowfall will not be very long, and the ground temperatures will start off a bit warm.  These factors will work against snowfall accumulation.

Opportunities for accumulation across southern Virginia are very low.  There is a slight chance of a coating to about half an inch accumulation in the metro, mainly on grassy surfaces.  Areas north of I-64, from the Northern Neck back through Caroline, Spotsylvania, Orange, Culpeper & Greene counties, could see a coating to around 1″ or 1.5″ of snow.  Accumulation will start on the grass, but the last few hours of snow could cause a light accumulation on roads across northern Virginia.blogsnap

Snow will exit by daybreak Friday, and a punch of arctic air will follow.  After morning lows in the mid and upper 20s, highs will only reach the lower 30s.  Winds of 15 to 25 mph with gusts of 30 mph will produce wind chills in the teens.  Winds will subside Friday night, which will allow temperatures to drop into the teens by Saturday morning.blogsnap3

UPDATE WEDNESDAY MORNING

Cold air from the High Plains and Upper Midwest is on the move this morning southeast. Check out the morning temperature snapshot at 7:30AM EST:

TempsNYDam

Also, moisture from the Gulf of Mexico is beginning to stream northeast toward Virginia. Surface high pressure is currently parked over the Mid-Atlantic.

SetupNYD

You’ll notice high clouds passing over us today – the first sign of that moisture coming our way.

LookingAhead

It still looks like this event will not set up just right to be a big snow event for Virginia. But it does still look like we have a shot at some snowfall overnight Thursday into pre-dawn Friday. Watch our Future Weather to see this system evolve:

This is, I think, probably a good snapshot of what snow will fall and stick in central Virginia by Dawn Friday:

SnowFcst

Obviously this is a minor snowfall for us, but it will stick and linger on Friday as temperatures Friday stay at or below freezing all day.

Please note this snow on the ground could cause slippery road conditions for your Friday morning and afternoon commutes.

Cold air will plunge over us Friday into Saturday. I expect widespread teens in central Virginia by Saturday morning.

PREVIOUS UPDATE

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Unless you were up before Dawn this Tuesday morning, you missed the fleeting flurries quickly tracking through central Virginia. Nothing stuck, so you wouldn’t even know the snow fell before you got up with the Sun. But I shot a quick video of the flurries outside the CBS 6 back door for you to enjoy on loop:

If you’re ready for sticking snow, we have a chance later this week.

We are tracking two pieces of the snow puzzle. First, it’s moisture coming out of the Gulf of Mexico toward us Thursday. Second, it’s deep, cold air coming from the High Plains toward the southeast.

We know the cold air is coming. It will be VERY cold Friday in the Mid-Atlantic, with temperatures in Richmond hovering around freezing during the day.

The question is the track of the developing low pressure system in the Heartland, which will both pull in colder air from the north and also tap into the Gulf moisture.

As of right now, it looks like the low will track from the Mid-Mississippi Valley to south-central Virginia and east of us offshore from Thursday afternoon through Friday morning. As it does so, rain Thursday evening will transition to snow as colder air surges into the Mid-Atlantic.

The best snow accumulation potential will, therefore, be on the north side of the low, which will favor the northern half of Virginia. Computer model data indicates (at best) about one to two inches of snowfall for the northern half of the Commonwealth, north of Richmond. Locations south of Richmond look to get an inch or less. But it does look like we’ll all get at least a chance to see a little snowfall late Thursday, overnight, and ending Friday morning.

We’ll keep you posted as the track of the storm becomes more certain, and specific regional impacts are known. This is the type of storm system where a lot can change in the two days leading up to the storm’s arrival, so stay with CBS 6, we’ll keep you ahead of the storm!

Meteorologist Carrie Rose
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