Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Major winter storm on tap starting tonight.

Cold arctic air being attact by the subtropical jet will bring us a little bit of everything.  The hope is we don't get enough freezing rain to cause major power outages. 

The skinny. 

Snow overspreads the area this evening between 9 and 12pm. There may be a period of heavy snow.

Southside- Snow Coating to 2 inches. 
Blacksburg to Roanoke to Lynchburg 2-4
Northern Amherst to Lexington to Hot Springs 3-6. 

Sleet will mix and change over by 4 am most areas, if not sooner. Snow totals include sleet. You may see 2 inches of snow then an inch of sleet. 

Mid to late morning the snow becomes freezing rain. 

Freezing rain totals will be just at the tipping point were power outages happen. 

Freezing rain totals a long 460 will bet between .2 to maybe .4 with a little less down in southside. Some of the higher elevations will see up to a half inch. 

Temps will struggle to get above freezing.. Here are two models showing the 10pm Wednesday temps and the areas nestled just along and west of the blue ridge are still right at 32. Because the rain will come in waves, the lighter periods actually are more damaging because they accrue better than heavy freezing rain. Simply put, cold are is really hard to scour out in these type set ups. 

Will update as needed. 

Would not be shocked if we went under the snow totals as at times these events like to change over sooner or would no be shocked if we saw another inch or two if the snow comes in heavier. 

Will update via post/tweets as the day unfolds but I would not expect and major changes. 

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Artic air comes in Tuesday with a chance at snow..

The news/FB/Twitter has been all over the polar vortex's pending visit ( FYI, we always have a polar vortex it's just displaced south for a few days.

The extreme -20 degree weather won't reach us but we may see single digits and get a day or two below freezing for high temps. 

We should see some snow with tumbling temps when the arctic front passes through. 

These are the current odds of seeing an inch of snow from this event.. 40-50% of an inch in the Roanoke-Lynchburg region with better odds in the mountain regions. 

If we get the boring outcome, temps may be in the mid 40's Tuesday, a little light rain ends as snow and the mountains see 1-3 while other places seee a coating to 2 inches. 

Keeping it in simple terms, the upper air energy from the polar vortex may work with another piece of energy pinwheeling around may work just perfectly to give us a shot a a little more snow. 

1.  It's hard to the cold to catch the moisture without a negative tilt trough axis ( the southeastern side of the energy is out in front of the northwest side, which is a negative tilt system.  Hence, we could get a quarter inch of moisture and .20 falls as rain. 
2. Downsloping can often be an issues-- compared to in the summer where a good line of T storms cross the mounts, die down then fire up just east of the area. 

So, in summary-- I think most places see rain ending as snow. School may be a no go for a lot of our region Wednesday with a dusting of snow falling at least then temps down into the low teens. 

*If* the system  maximizes.. odds now under 25% 2 to 5 inches of powder could happen and multiple school days could be missed. 

Outside shot at another system in 7-8 days. We may get a brief warm up then a colder pattern may be locking in towards mid month. 

Look for updates on social media about the cold snap with possible snow. 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Tell me more about his cold and stormy pattern..

So, after the trainwreck of a forecast on Saturday-Sunday where a lot more ice fell than snow, we pulled a nice little inch at my place with snow still falling and one more decent round pushing into the area. For the season, at my house I have 16.8 - before this event ends which is about the season average. Depending on what the measure at WSET-- the official LYH number will be about the same. Roanoke is close to the seasonal average and Danville is above their seasonal average.

We are in a colder pattern.  My timeline stated on December 25th blog said by Jan 5, we could see something other than rain and by the 10th we may see more than a minor event. Despite the blown snow forecast, that was quite a bit of ice and snow so we did OK there.

The pattern is digging in with a displaced polar vortex, blocking over Alaska, blocking developing over the Artic region and some blocking into Greenland eventually- (small details that would bore you) but with varience it will feel like winter for the next 4 to 6 weeks. I

So, let's talk squad goals. In my prior blogs I talked about how the these west based low to moderate El Nino's like to have a harsh few weeks.

What we could see--

Outside of southside, everyone doubles their seasonal total-- so the 17 or so in LYH becomes 34 for the season. Danville easily could-- but they mix a lot more than other regions due to being further south.

A good comparable month could be February of 2015- we got cold but the storms were north then the dam broke. We had a 9 inch storm, 6 inch storm, 5 inch storm and 3 inch storm in about a 3 week period starting Presidents Day.. for 23 inches and the temps were 10 below normal. Now, I am not expecting a -10 for a month but for a 2 week period is possible.  If we get 23 inches of snow in 3 weeks we will have a top 10 winter snowfall wise in much of our region.

There are no specific threats yet..

The flash freeze-- possible that the rain ends as a little snow Sunday and we will fall in the tank cold wise. Monday would likely have been a no snow due to cold day but it is MLK day and the kids are already off.

Later next week another threat could be on the horizon but the fine details are yet to be decided.

In my mind, sometimes we ease into the deepest of the cold, once it is really cold threats slow down because of the severe cold and as the pattern starts to ease towards Late February another storm or two is possible.

Remember to follow me on twitter and facebook for smaller updates outside the blog and if your bored, click an ad!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Weekend snowstorm final call..Big snow or Big Ice??

The quicker updates via post vs blog was easier because of work this week. For those who didn't know- VirginiaWx doubles as a Family Counselor during the off season :)

So, I have literally drawn up 2 different maps I want to use. All model data-- GFS, GGEM, EURO..etc have a decent snow along 460 with sleet getting close at some point.  Just south of that,  sleet mixes and then near the VA/NC border there is a raging ice storm.

With that, The NAM- North American model pulls the ice well north of 460 (Meaning Blacksburg, Roanoke and Lynchburg and we get hardly any snow and instead get a pain in the butt ice storm.  Let's be honest-- ice is boring, then it gets destructive (Let's talk about that in a bit too)

Start time:
4 to 8PM- most areas start as snow.  Peak times that may mix along 460 will be 5 am to 10 am Sunday AM. South of that area mixing will be a problem much of the event.

The heaviest stuff may be out of there by noon tomorrow but flurries and snow showers may linger well into Sunday evening.

I cleaned up my map but my call will remain about the same.  Along 460 that sleet line will set up. If you get sleet, it will reduce the numbers quite a bit, but for the areas that stay all snow, this will be a nice event.

If things go ice- The NAM model is on an island making it ice well to our north. This is what falls as snow and the rest is ice. 

This would be a sleety, crunchy mess. 

If we can max out the potential-- The Canadian models which tend to do well in el nino winters think we could approach double digits, with a sharp cut off to the south that has dominant sleet and ice fall. 

It is not unprecidented to have such a sharp cut off from snow to ice, but it's not that common. There is usually a step down.  Someone compared this event to February 1996 event where Forest and Boonesboro had 15 inches, 11 inches at the airport where there was some sleet and then down to 3 inches of sleet from Altavista to Brooknearl. 

Looking forward, our cold and stormy pattern is  setting up.  Next weekend, The Weekend of January 19th has a blip on the radar. There was an extreme event on the Euro last night where a storm arrives as cold artic air plunges in. We struggled to add depth of cold air and get 1-2 inches of freezing rain. 

With that, share my blog and posts to increase my readership. If you click an ad that helps too. 

Expect updates during the storm on my social media accounts. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Top Weather Stories of 2018.. and a sneak peek into 2019.

I do make snow maps for the entire region, but I am Lynchburg centric on much of my banter talk  because I live there. It could easily be made this has been the most extreme weather year EVER in the Hill City.  I'd refer to you Kevin Myatt from the Roanoke Times for the year in review for the Roanoke/NRV  region.

My top events in order.

1. The April 15 tornado-
Wow, A tornado started on Timberlake/Waterlick and ended way up in Amherst County. This was the first actualy tornado in the city limits in recorded history. Hands down, the most impressive event of the year.

Click here for the NWS write up on the storm and  click here my favorite video from the Compter Exchange is the Tornado heads up Timberlake.

2.  August 2nd extreme flooding-

I recall seeing the first radar image and thinking it may get ugly and it was worse than I ever could have imagined.  A large swath of our region saw 5-8 inches of rain in 2 hours causing incredible flooding. Here are two images that show radar totals , and keep in mind radar totals are often underdone.

The red areas exceeded 6 inches of rain. It was a sharp cut off with the reporting location at the airport seeing under one inch of rain in that time period. 

3. Has to be the December snowfall.  You could argue this was the biggist region wide storm since January of 1996. Other storms had more in certain areas, but very few areas of the region had less than 10 inches. (Dec 09 and Feb 14 would be the competition. 

4. Record setting  precipitation: For the year we are over 60 inches and should see another inch or two  from rain Thursday into Friday. I will add the rainfall for Michael and Florence in this for Lynchburg specific, even thought the impact of those events, especially Michael were greater in Roanoke/ Danville.  For everyone in our area, this is the wettest year on Record. 

When does Winter Return?? 

With the big start to winter, all we need is to hit the climo numbers for each month and we finish in my stated ranges. With that, those numbers are averages and we never fit weather into nice neat boxes. 

I'm fairly confident we are heading back towards a colder patter but it will take a while to really ramp up. 

By Jan 5th the pattern doesn't stink for anything but rain. 

By Jan 10th, we could see more than a nuisance event. 

By Jan 20th, we may end up in a pattern that has a few threats in sight.. meaning a storm ends Monday and we are already talking about another even Saturday. 

Remember that in the low- moderate, west based El Nino winters, 86-87 and 65-66 had pretty big 1-2 week periods and 02-03 had literally a storm every Thursday from Jan 15th on until the Presidents Day sleet fest.  

Not that cold is fun without snow, but this may be a "kids stay home from school because it's too cold"  day or two during the colder stretch. If lows are in the single digits and highs are not expected past the high teens, the usually pull the plug on school. 

Of course, nothing is a lock yet and we will fine tune this as we move in closer. 

Monday, December 10, 2018

Record storm wrap up and what's next??

Wow, so what a storm.. most places saw a foot or more region wide. This is without a doubt the most significant storm this early in the season for our area.

My last posted map was..

Not a bad call, but a little low on the north side and a little low south of Danville. 

I had actually made another map and never uploaded it..

Would have been a little better in some areas but missed the 20 inche totals. 

Actual storm totals..

That northern side was way underdone by everone. This somewhat shows why I didn't really back off Friday when the data sunk south again. Northern edges are always a bear and there were some suble changes that lead to 13.5 in Charlottesville, 11.5 in Richmond and 15-20 in Lexington to Covington areas. 

I ive in Lynchburg and the official total will be 11.7, I had an even 12 or so and region wide 12-15 seems to be the common numbers for our area. 

We are off to a nice start this winter with over 50% of more of the seasonal totals already achieved. 

Outside shot at a little snow and ice late this week but we should be mild until Christmas week. That may be the transition week and then by early January we should be back into a colder pattern. 

In moderate El Ninos-- When you get one storm over 10 inches, you often get a second or even a third. 

09-10, 86-87 and 65-66 were winters that had 2 or more storms over 10 inches in most of our region. 02-03 had a plethora of storms between 3 and 6 inches. 

Meaning, enjoy the break-- we may chatting a lot as the season moves forward. 

Hope you saw my heavy snow video! 

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Double digit snowfall like across much of region Starting Sunday Pre dawn.

This is the type of events that bring meteorologists, hobbyiest and casual weather  fans to the brink of frustration and sanity.   The pattern and set up looked like a snowstorm, but there were several issues that had to be resolved.  This leads to models drifting all over the place and general chaos about the forecast. It seems we have a general idea that 1 inch of liquid, falling as snow like reaches at least to hwy 460 from Blacksburg east through Appomattox. Hence, my totals are going up.

A few points:
Don't rely on your app. Most take one model and spit out what the model says. It is a huge disservice in a winter weather event 5 days out. Accept that the "chance" is there and the details will be ironed out.  It is important to be comfortable with not knowing the exact details.  To me, that's half the fun-- figuring it all out.

Every weather forecaster will be wrong on some aspects of their forecast.  We (They) often focus on their local area and then fan out to areas that they know, but not as well. I have no issues saying I am expect on Lynchburg weather. I do well other places but I know the local nuances better than likely anyone living in the area. Sadly, I have spent literally 20 years now reading computer model data about weather and storms here. The further you get away from any one person's area of local knowledge, the less accurate a forecast will be.  (AKA, people who ask me 2 hours away I can take a stab at it but it won't be great, I have not invested as much into understanding your area.

With that, I accept part of the map will be wrong somewhere.

My totals are going up. Honestly, there is some wiggle room especially in the Lynchburg area for a tad more than I show even though my totals have increased.   I am actually typing this up before the noon model data believing if anything we see another drift north on the snow totals.

I'll save you the weather jargon. This is a big wet system. There is just cold enough air in place and it will snow. A lot. Any place may end as sleet or freezing drizzle. Places in Charlotte, Pittsylvania and Henry County may mix a little more but will still get crushed.  There may be a few minutes where it snows so hard you just stop and smile and say WOW! I expect a few Facebook posts of " Heaviest snow ever". I would not be shocked to see 2 inch an hour snows at some point tomorrow in all areas.

I'll start tweeting/posting more on FB as we get close with the latest up to date information and will include computer modeled snow maps at this point forward.

Noon data looks even better, FYI