Archive for February, 2015

ANOTHER ARCTIC AIR MASS MOVES INTO THE MID-ATLANTIC STATES THIS WEEKEND… WARMER TEMPERATURES ARE EXPECTED NEXT WEEK ALONG WITH SEVERAL CHANCES OF RAIN

After a brutal period of Arctic cold and snow, the weather pattern is about to change (finally) which will bring warmer temperatures along with some rain. However, we have to get through another Arctic air mass, which will move into Hampton Roads this afternoon. According to meteorologists, temperatures on Saturday will probably not get above the freezing point. There might be a snow shower/flurry this afternoon mostly north of I-64. The snow and ice from our last storm will be slow to melt, but keep in mind that the sun is getting stronger with each passing day, so even though temperatures will be chilly, some melting will occur in areas that receive sunshine. Refreezing will be an issue once the sun goes down so be mindful of black ice. The next low pressure system to affect our region will come on Monday, but it will track to our north. Remember the general rule: If a low pressure system tracks north of our region, we normally receive mostly rain. Areas well to our north over the Mid-West and Northeast may receive significant snowfall early next week. The upper-level wind pattern next week is expected to favor milder weather with several weather systems moving across the nation. Will we return to below normal temperatures after next week’s warm up? The Climate Prediction Center is forecasting colder than normal temperature for a large portion of the Eastern U.S. during the second week of March, but we are getting closer to spring so hopefully that doesn’t mean more snow and ice. That forecast could change since it is so far out in the future. The first day of astronomical spring is just three weeks away! That’s it for now. Thanks for reading and have a great day!

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METEOROLOGISTS FACE A VERY CHALLENGING FORECAST AS A MAJOR WINTER STORM MOVES INTO THE REGION

Forecast computer models are being put to the test the past several days during this extremely active weather pattern that we’ve been in and they are having difficulty producing reliable forecasts. Tuesday’s snowstorm was an example of this as snow was not predicted the day before by most sources. The cold front that moved through was supposed to move far enough off the coast to not allow snow to fall in our area when a weak area of low pressure moved along the front. Drier air was supposed to prevail and only areas to our south and east were supposed to have a chance of precipitation. As we all know, snow began falling Tuesday afternoon in all of Hampton Roads and it picked up in intensity late in the afternoon causing numerous problems on our area roadways. It took me over three hours to drive home, which is approximately a 25 mile commute that normally takes me a little less than an hour to drive. Temperatures hovered in the middle twenties, which made the snow stick to most surfaces. Even roadways that were treated had issues… Now, attention has turned to a low pressure system developing near the Gulf Coast. This is a very difficult forecast with so many cancellations and closings at stake on Thursday. The models have trended further northward with this system which does two things. It brings more precipitation to our region. It also brings the rain/snow line further north closer to Hampton Roads. However, the current thinking among most meteorologists is that we should be just cold enough to see significant snow accumulations in most of Hampton Roads overnight into Thursday morning. Please read my Weather Fact “Predicting Snow in Hampton Roads… Why is it so Challenging?” Areas just to our north and west should see the most snow, possibly totaling near a foot in some places if everything falls into place with the forecast. Just to our south and east, if enough rain and/or sleet mixes in, accumulations should only be in the 1 to 3 inch range if the current forecast is correct. Either way, precipitation should taper off during the late morning/early afternoon hours. In addition, winds will increase as the low pressure system intensifies off the coast. That’s it for now. Please be safe out there!

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SPECIAL UPDATE REGARDING POTENTIAL WINTRY PRECIPITATION MONDAY MORNING

Weather forecasters now believe that the combination of a cold front moving through the region, a low pressure area developing offshore, and overrunning moisture aloft from the southwest may bring a period of snow and/or sleet to Hampton Roads Monday morning. If this forecast verifies, the morning commute could be problematic. Although accumulations of snow do not appear to be significant at this time, temperatures are expected to be cold enough that we may see light accumulations on the area roadways. This is a very difficult forecast and it may change as we get closer to the event. Therefore, you should monitor the local media and the National Weather Service for any updates in the forecast. Any precipitation that does occur should end during the late morning hours or early afternoon on Monday. It will remain very cold and below normal temperatures are expected to last throughout most of the week. As it looks right now, Wednesday will probably be the warmest day of the week with temperatures expected to be in the 40’s during the afternoon.

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THE ARCTIC AIR MASS THAT BROUGHT RECORD COLD TO THE MID-ATLANTIC STATES MOVES OFF THE COAST… A FRONTAL SYSTEM MAY BRING SOME RAIN LATE SATURDAY NIGHT INTO SUNDAY… RAIN AND MILDER TEMPERATURES SHOULD MELT A LOT OF THE SNOW AND ICE

We’re going to get a break from the bitter cold temperatures that we’ve endured the past few days. Record low temperatures were recorded in numerous locations in the Eastern part of the country. I think one of the most notable record low temperatures was the one from Lynchburg, VA, where it bottomed out at minus 11 degrees! That was their all-time record low temperature for any time of the year! Norfolk, VA had a record low of 9 degrees. Today (Saturday), we’ll see temperatures rise into the 40’s, which will begin the melting process. However, clouds will be slowly increasing as a frontal system approaches the region. If you are traveling to western VA, be prepared to encounter some wintry precipitation today. A low pressure system will drag a warm front through our region later tonight and Sunday. This should produce some rain later tonight along with fog in some areas. The cold ground along with the snow/ice cover will enhance the formation of fog. Believe it or not, temperatures may actually rise overnight Saturday night. Rain should continue on Sunday possibly tapering off later in the day. Another cold air mass will be moving into our region on Monday bringing well below normal temperatures. The week ahead looks like a chilly one for the most part. Why are we receiving such cold temperatures lately? The jet stream, that river of strong winds that steers weather systems, is to blame. It has been diving down from the Polar region into the Eastern part of the nation. Note that in the Western States all the way up through Alaska, temperatures recently have been much above normal. Note that many times when we have below normal temperatures during the winter, the west coast is warmer than normal and is also usually dry. This is not good news for those folks out there, where a very persistent long-term drought exists. The snow pack in the Rocky Mountains provides needed water for many locations and it is running much below normal. That’s it for now. Have a great weekend!

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RECORD BREAKING COLD IS POSSIBLE THURSDAY AND FRIDAY… THE ARCTIC FRONT MAY BE ACCOMPANIED BY SNOW SHOWERS WEDNESDAY EVENING… MILDER AIR WILL MOVE INTO THE REGION OVER THE WEEKEND ALONG WITH A CHANCE OF PRECIPITATION

Weather forecasters are predicting that we may have the coldest temperatures in over 10 years Thursday into Friday here in Hampton Roads! Records may be broken as it is expected to be colder than it ever was at this time of year in recorded history! That’s not what we want to hear with all this snow and ice around. Hopefully, there will be some melting today (Wednesday) as temperatures are expected to rise into the 30’s. How high temperatures get today depends on how much sunshine we receive. The Arctic front is expected to have a line of snow showers accompanying it as it sweeps through Wednesday evening. Although there is not a lot of moisture to work with, there’ll be enough lift in the atmosphere to create a quick burst of snow that may leave a coating to an inch in some spots. This may be problematic since temperatures are expected to be cold enough for the snow to stick to the pavement. If you are out traveling this evening, please be mindful of that. Then, the Arctic air surges in and temperatures are expected to be in the low teens Thursday morning with wind chill readings lower than that. This Arctic blast is not expected to have the very strong damaging winds that the previous blast had, but temperatures will be colder with this air mass. Winds will still be very gusty, though, through most of Thursday. On Friday, it will be extremely cold and the winds are expected to slacken a bit. The forecast for the weekend is quite uncertain at this time as another low pressure system will be impacting the Mid-Atlantic States. Milder air is expected to move into the region so there is a lot of uncertainty concerning the precipitation type across Virginia. From what I’ve seen, Hampton Roads will probably have mostly rain with maybe some snow or sleet at the start with this system. The timing of the system seems to be that chances of precipitation increase later Saturday and Sunday. Areas to our north and west may have accumulating snowfall and sleet/ice may be an issue again with this system in those areas. If you are traveling to northern/western VA and points north and west this weekend, check the forecast before you leave. That’s it for now. Thanks for reading and have a great day! Be safe out there!

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