Archive for February, 2009

THE BATTLE OF THE AIR MASSES WILL MAKE FOR AN ACTIVE THREE DAY PERIOD FOR HAMPTON ROADS… HAMPTON ROADS SHOULD SEE RAIN ON SATURDAY WITH SNOW A POSSIBILITY SUNDAY NIGHT INTO MONDAY

I know that most of us are ready for spring after this rather chilly winter. Although it has been cold at times, we still have not seen accumulating snow here in Hampton Roads. It’s been over 4 years since we’ve seen a significant snowfall. Well, forecasters are currently saying that the white stuff is indeed a possibility late Sunday into early Monday. Of course, everything has to be just perfect for it to snow here in Hampton Roads as we have a lot of factors that go against us seeing snow. However, with a low pressure area intensifying offshore, cold air plunging in from the north and the timing of the event being at night which mitigates the effects of the strong March sun, snow is a real possibility. But first, we have to get through Saturday. A wave of low pressure combined with overrunning should bring us a decent soaking from late Saturday morning through the evening hours. The further south you are, the heavier the rain will be. Our northwestern suburbs probably won’t see much at all. Then, we get a small break in the precipitation on Sunday as the next system approaches. The exact track and intensity of this system will determine the amount of snow that we see Sunday night into Monday. Wind will also be a factor and tidal flooding is possible. In my Sunday morning update, I’ll provide a breakdown of the scenarios that are possible. I’m hoping that forecasters have a better handle of this system by then. The models right now (Saturday at 0900) are not all in agreement with the placement of the heaviest precipitation. The good news is that we are hopefully going to get significant precipitation. It has been very dry the past several weeks. So, check back in Sunday morning for my post on this potential winter storm.

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THE WORK WEEK STARTS OUT CHILLY BUT A WARM UP IS EXPECTED LATER IN THE WEEK… ARE WE HEADING FOR ANOTHER DROUGHT?

Cold air will be advecting in behind a deepening low pressure system off the New England Coast. The system should only produce a few light showers here in Hampton Roads on Sunday. A snow flurry can’t be ruled out in some spots late in the day, especially for folks to our north. Winds will be quite gusty as the pressure gradient steepens later on Sunday into Monday. By the way, this system will bring a significant snowstorm to parts of the Northeastern States. As high pressure builds in on Tuesday, winds will settle down but temperatures will be quite cold Monday night for most of us. Another system will be approaching later in the week that will boast up temperatures, but again, this system appears to be moisture starved. That has been the problem for most of this winter. Frontal systems have not been able to tap moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. We are well over 4 inches below normal already and forecasters expect the overall dry pattern to continue for another week at least. Speaking of the dry weather, a fire weather advisory may be issued on Monday as strong winds, low humidity, and dry brush make for ripe conditions for brush/forest fires.  Will the pattern change anytime soon? No one knows for sure, but as a weak La Nina fades in the Pacific, conditions may improve as we head into spring and especially into summer. We can only hope!

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SATURDAY LOOKS SUNNY BUT A BIT ON THE COOL SIDE… SUNDAY LOOKS CLOUDIER, WITH A SHOWER POSSIBLE… OUR PRECIPITATION DEFICIT GROWS

After a chilly start Saturday morning with temperatures in the 20’s, we should warm up to near 50 degrees. Winds will eventually become southerly Saturday afternoon as a high pressure moves offshore. A clipper-like system will be approaching from the west on Sunday which will bring more clouds and the possibility of some light precipitation. Forecasters don’t believe that we will see much QPF which is quite unfortunate considering how dry it has been over the last several weeks. We are now over 4 inches below normal for the year! Does this mean that we are heading for another drought? It’s too early to know, but if the pattern does not change soon, we could be facing a drought here in SE VA. The precipitation on Sunday should be in the liquid form with just a slight chance of a mix of snow and rain at the onset and the end of the precipitation event. Forecasters don’t anticipate any frozen precipitaion problems from this system. The low pressure itself will intensify rapidly as it moves offshore on Sunday night. This will kick up the winds significantly as the pressure gradient increases. As far as the exended forecast is concerned, we should stay on the chilly side through mid-week, but a warm up seems likely later in the week along with a chance of showers again.

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MONDAY AND TUESDAY WILL BE CHILLY AND AFTER A BREIF MID-WEEK WARM UP, WE COOL BACK DOWN LATE NEXT WEEK… A FRONTAL SYSTEM MAY BRING SOME RAIN LATE WEDNESDAY INTO THURSDAY

Chilly northerly winds have kept temperatures on the chilly side on Sunday and this should continue on Monday and most of Tuesday, despite ample sunshine at times. A weak system that passed through SE VA and NE NC Monday night brought a dusting of snow to the South Side Hampton Roads and NE NC. Isn’t it ironic that it snowed in VA Beach on the school system’s make-up day (President’s Day) for the “Non-Snow Day”? It’s almost like Mother Nature has a sense of humor. Chilly weather early this week will give way to milder conditions on Wednesday as a frontal system approaches from the west. The track of this low pressure system is a bit uncertain at this time, but current indications are that we will just get some much needed showers later Wednesday into Thursday. As I mentioned in my previous post, we haven’t had significant rain in over two weeks so let’s hope that this mid-week system brings some much needed rain to the area. We are now over 3 inches below normal for 2009. After this system moves through, we cool back down and temperatures should stay quite cold next weekend. Another system may affect us over the weekend, but it is way too soon to speculate on how much, if any, precipitation that we may receive…. As the days grow longer, it won’t be long before temperatures begin to respond. Weather patterns will be changing in a few weeks to a more springlike pattern. However, there’s still plenty of winter to go for most of the nation. Late February and March can be very stormy across the United States.

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WEAK SYSTEMS BRING CLOUDS BUT VERY LITTLE PRECIPITATION… TEMPERATURES SHOULD REMAIN AT SEASONAL LEVELS… IT’S BEEN OVER TWO WEEKS SINCE HAMPTON ROADS HAS SEEN PRECIPITATION

A weak low pressure system may bring a light shower or sprinkle to some locations on Saturday, but odds are Hampton Roads remains dry. The main reason that this system is not strengthening is the very deep low pressure that is located in the Canadian Maritimes. That is the same system that brought the tornadoes to OK and the high winds to the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States earlier in the week. That system is just suppressing this approaching system. Temperatures will be at seasonal levels (or slightly below) through the weekend. High pressure builds in on Monday and Tuesday bringing a continuation of dry conditions. Speaking of dry conditions, as of today (Saturday), it has been 17 days since Hampton Roads had significant precipitation. Needless to say we are well below normal for 2009. We are approximately running 3 inches below normal already. Is there a change in the pattern expected this upcoming week? I don’t think that forecasters know the answer to that just yet. There will be another frontal system approaching on Wednesday, but a split flow may cause the main energy to pass to our north with the deeper moisture passing to our south. Sound familiar? We saw that plenty of times during our recent drought. I’ll have an update on Sunday.

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