Archive for February 25, 2015

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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