Thursday, December 30, 2010

Where do we go from here??

As we close out December with ONE very warm day, how does January unfold? My original outlook expected December to be a colder than normal month and the COLDEST of all three winter months. January was to start cool--but end warm and February was to be warm.

December was COLD-- top 5 cold. Most expected a cold December, just not THIS cold. I'd not have expected 6-12 inches of snow region wide, but that's the hardest prediction to make.

At this time, it does appear that we will rebuild the -NAO (Greenland Block) starting early next week and some threats will be in line after that.

Attached is a map that shows heights rebuilding into Greenland (Good sign if you want more cold and BAD if you hate it) Recall that we never got a BIG storm because

1. Lack of Sub tropical Jet due to moderate la nina
2. Lack of PNA ridge-- normal "lack" in la nina winter. We had the Greenland block retrograde into Canada and link up with the lack of PNA ridge, leading to our BIG Christmas snow ( HUGE event in NC and than up the coast)

Note the ridging into Greenland-- eventually  cools us down and the baggy nature of the green colors over the SW tells us there is some energy heading east. Off the cuff, this type set up leads to more of an icing threat compared to snow. (Note-threat, not a forecast)

New Years Weekend starts dry and warm and a cold front comes through New Year's Day NITE--temps being to cool and we wait and see how the pattern sets up for January.

In the FWIW department-- I was reading some research about the EXTREME Greenland block and -AO we had in December. Blocks that extreme are rare, but when they do happen, they usually repeat themselves later in the winter. So, my warmer Jan and Feb COULD be in trouble. 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Should of asked for a waffle maker this Christmas--- (Threat growing for MORE significant snow)

**Noon Update**
I like the 2-4 inch call after examination of the noon data. Original Call stands.

Wow, I've heard a few forecasters describe this line of work as humbling. Despite being a local guy who does this for fun, after following these models for 10 years and even taking some classes, days like this make me completely understand why this is said. When dealing with Mother Nature, Chaos theory still rules the day.

We've gone from
2-3 days of thinking a BIG snow was possible to
24 hours of thinking an inch was the MAX
Currently thinking 2-4 inches is once again possible.

 Computer modeling is amazing and addictive. Earlier, we had talked about a "phase" and how the phase had a 6-12 hour window to happen at the right time and at the right place, or the storm will still form, just well to our north and east.

Today, the noon model data came out and some had formed the storm earlier--but the powers that be (Hydrometeorological  Prediction Center) stated that the data had assimilated incorrectly and was wrong. The ECMWF (Again, the proven most statistically correct model) Did not form the storm far enough south and west to change my thinking from **possible** coating to an inch, with only Hampton Roads area getting a decent event.

Late day, the american models that run STILL had the event in our region.

As of 4 am, Christmas day, as Santa is dropping off presents on the west coast, Every model states most of the Central and SW VA region sees a decent snow from this event. All data points towards 2-4 inches ( One could argue for 3-6, but let's start small and stay with it)

Basically, the 2 phasing jets-- the subtropical has remaind a SMIDGE stronger and polar jet has dampened out the first piece of energy in favor of the second piece just behind it and the low begins to explode just to our south and we get a late evening, early Boxing day snow.

Current Radar for Lynchurg and Roanoke.

This should reach the ground towards sunrise. This first batch will slide east with our original coating and a second, stronger area moves in from the SW after 1 PM-- most of the region has snow falling by 4 PM.

General snowfall ideas.

Mt Areas west of 1-81 (Entire event, including upslope snows)
6-12 higher elevations, 3-6 lower, south of the NRV and 2-4 lower elevations north of there.

2-4 Roanoke, Lynchburg--and all the small towns in between.

3-6 Martinsville, Danville, Farmville and Charlottesville.

Hampton Roads 6-12 some mixing issues, 6-12 over most of Delaware with Mixing issues near the coast and 6-12 for my Two favorite nephews in Broomall, PA. (Coastal regions have higher shot both mixing and the highest totals)

Will update later today, as the more intense this storm gets--the better chances we have of getting the higher end of these numbers . This is a "white of the eyes" storm-- won't know the full impact until we see the white of its eyes.  Challenging forecast-- Merry Christmas!

**Quick 7am update before my kids get up to open up presents**
1. It is currently snowing--first wave made it in as expected. Won't be more than a coating, but how awesome is light snow Christmas morning
2. Based on WV loop and some other model data, I'm concerned this becomes a much larger event for our region. The MID runs are spitting out over 6 inches of snow. Let's wait until the on hour model data happens, but this could be a MAJOR event.

Attached is the precip output from the GFS ensemble means--the .75 liquid basically runs right up to highway 29-- the operation runs up to .5 precip. This would yeild 5-8 inches of snow across the region.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Stick a fork in this one--because it's done!

Bye Bye Christmas storm-- Hello, easy travelling.

If you live by a modeled forecast, you die by the modeled forecast. A model called the ECMWF has proven for about 10 years to be the most reliable forecasting tool. However, it will have speed bumps in the road. Just last week it tried to blow up a late weekend storm and brought snows from NC to New England. Again, this time the same model had an EXTREME set up where heavy snows would fall from SC to New England. I have no issue with the National Weather Service and other media outlets reporting this possible storm because of the HUGE impact on Christmas travelling.

You may ask why? I really don't like the old phrase-- Being a weatherman is a great job because you can be wrong half time time. Reality is, people who say that know nothing about the science of meteorology. Some brilliant people have made great advances in this field-- and its truly shown when you look at the data. When you can't control the factors and can't get exact data at the exact time for all the layers of the atmosphere-- it becomes rather complicated. Literally 6 hours difference and a couple hundred miles on the short waves (energy aloft--they often show you picture of spinning clouds if you pay attention during storms) would have created this monster event.

Last winter was EASY-- we had a very strong sub tropical jet and extreme blocking. VERY easy to get major storms and most were modeled out well far in advance. This year, a La Nina, the challenge is greater because rather then having that strong sub tropical jet, we are rely on "phasing" because the sub tropical jet is a little starved for moisture.

The term "phasing" means the jets work together to create a storm. The challenging aspect is that if they phase late--even by 12 hours, they can cancel each other out, move the storm track well away from the threatened area and other factors like that.

There could still be a period of light snow and flurries Christmas day, but this big threat is basically dead (Could see a coating to an inch Christmas day). Cold lingers the remainder of the week and December finishes top 5 coldest month ever. Lynchburg has a shot at the coldest December on record. From there, the pattern breaks down -- the model data hints it may be only temporary before it reloads cold but I'm not willing to budge (yet) from my thoughts that by mid January we are rather warm and February is even warmer.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A buzz is in the air

We've been on this storm a few days now--and finally, a solution could be in reach. The storm that has battered Cali with 10 inches of rain and 13 + feet of snow in the Mts is heading east. At the same time, some energy is diving in out of Canada and will phase with the Cali storm energy near the SE states.  IF, and IF this phase happens at the right time this will be a historic storm. Even if timing is 6-10 hours off--we could get graze rather than the full impact. On top of the possible snow--winds will be strong for a long period of time. Beach erosion will be rather bad. Winds rush from high pressure to low pressure...and  there COULD be a 1035 HP over MN while a 970 low sits just east of Cape Hatteras. You won't see 65 MB difference in that time space often other than from a Hurricane.

If the phase timing is off-- the further south and west you sit, the more likely you don't see much snow.

Would start late Christmas day in VA and slowly move northeast-- and really last well into Monday with the winds. Snowfall would meet Winter Storm Warning levels--which is 4 inches. And, the B word is possible, especially those nearest to the ocean.

Map from the Extreme model version--- this is 7 PM Sunday evening. (Miserable Eagles- Vikes game)
A low pressure THAT strong sitting there would have snow falling from Philly down in to NC-- with heavy bands and strong winds.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Somebody wake up Bing Crosby--

When the NWS says "likely" 5 days before an event-- take notice. I'm sure part of the extreme lead time is the
nature of the holiday season so everyone has a chance to make and adjust plans, while the other reason is we have great agreement from every model that we see at least SOME snow.

BTW, here is a nice link to the NWS office in Blacksburg.

You just click on your location and it gives you a forecast. The folks our office do a fine job forecasting for our region.

The storm that is beating California to pulp as we currently sleep begins to move east and holds together well. Cold air is firmly entrenched in our region while another piece of energy dives down from Canada into our Christmas low pressure.

The models diverge a little where some (GFS) takes a little while to get the low cranking while losing the storm from Cali and we just a nice 1-3 inch snowfall but Philly North and East get more of a 6-10 inch event (and then some). The ECMWF is a little slower bringing the energy out of the SW, the storm "Phases" a little sooner and we end up with a 4-8 inch event. However, the ECMWF is known to hold energy a little to long in the southwest--so this could be an error as well. COLD storm-- temps down in the 20's.

This looks like a event to be shared by all from Carolina to New England...

This is the QPF(Quanitative precipitation forecast) output from the GFS-- the light green is .10 to .25 liquid
For comparisiong, the shades of blue are a half inch and the pink is an inch and  a half. As always, the QPF maps are the least accurate on some levels for actual forecasting at this time frame, but very helpful is showing what a model is indicating.

The ECMWF model (not allowed to post QPF maps) has a more defined low near FL as its slowed and the northern energy is involved sooner.

That explodes as it moves up the coast-- Goes from 1008 MB to 978 in a day, which is rather impressive.

If you notice over MN--there is a high pressure over MN-- High pressure moving in from the west and storm just to our east means WIND!

Snow is likely-- at this point, I'd suggest a snowfall of 2-4 inches for Christmas day over most of our region. The fast solutions bring us less snow and snow starts overnight Christmas eve into Christmas day, while the slower models are not bringing in snow until Christmas day afternoon lasting into the 26th.Windy and VERY cold--so if Santa is bring your kids a sled, make sure he sends gloves and a scarf as well.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

No drastic changes-- 3-6 inches on tap. My official guess is 5.2 inches.

Best snows straddle around highway 460 thought our region. Very fast mover--- I'm guessing heaviest snows are DONE by 11 AM or so. The speed of this thing will keep accumulations lower.

Start time in Lynchburg after 5 am-- I'm expecting 3 hours or so of rather heavy snow. Frozen ground-- going to be a rough go.

Snow may mix with a little sleet as it ends, especially south of Lynchburg and I do expect freezing drizzle late afternoon and evening.

Let me add--this pattern likely breaks down late month. This has a pretty good chance of being our best snow of the year.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Love the one you're with--- snow totals increase for Thursday, chances decrease for the weekend event.

Over Running events are a fun challenge-- with the extreme blocking in place, the amount of moisture, possible mix or change to sleet and freezing rain all have to be factored in. Over running is a term used when there is cold air in place (I'm assuming you noticed the cold today) and some warm air attempts to move it out of the way. Cold air is heave and dense, so it runs over the top of the cold base and makes it precipitate.

The data has taking a strong trend towards two things
1. Cold air holds longer--
2. More moisture.

The most extreme version of this is depicted in the NAM model that gives most of our region about a half inch of liquid, mostly falling as snow (5 inches or so--- and 3 hours of rather heavy snow.) This model tends to over due the precipitation but, I do give it some credence because its a regional model--(covers the US) not a global model that does the entire earth.

Let's start the bidding at 2-4 inches for the night and go from there-- and it still will end as a little freezing drizzle but 90% of the moisture falls as snow. I would not be shocked at all if this ends up as a low level winter storm warning with a 3-6 range region wide.

Snow starts around sunrise Thursday, heavy at times in the morning and over and done by 2 PM.

This map shows the extreme solution with a band of 5 inches running along highway 460.

Event two is less promising if your a snow level--- with the lack of a sub tropical jet, many factors have to come together perfectly to get a good coastal low. There has been a decreasing amount of support from the computer models today-- so I'd downgrade this to highly unlikely. Keep in mind, we don't downgrade because a model says so--but because the pattern as depicted doesn't support a storm.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cold air is being ushered in--with one, maybe TWO shots at snow in the next 7 days.

December is currently running -10 degrees below normal. WOW---
If you recall last winter, we had historic blocking in the AO and NAO which lead to our many snows. It was this writers belief that we would not see that type of blocking again. And, I guessed wrong.

Some of my "people" in the field hit home on the fact that the NAO runs in cycles and we are in a longer term phase where the NAO will run negative. Last winter, and so far this winter has certainly supported this belief.

The set up--

COLD COLD air is heading our way-- once we dip below freezing over night, its going to be a while before it goes above freezing.

Event 1-

Over running--

What is that? Cold air in place-- flow turns from the SW aloft (think warmer air) and it "precipitates". Some data suggest that this remains to our south while some nudges it into our region. The afore mentioned block COULD keep this thing out of our area--or make it just a minor event.

One model looks a little more ominous with strong lift (lift = precipitation) Here is a snap shot of that left just to our south and west. This is 7 am Thursday morning. This does represent the most extreme NORTH of the model data.

I'd place the odds at 50/50 we see any type of accumulating snow out of this event. Would start early Thursday.

Event 2--

El Nino= Wamer water= More energy in the jet stream..LAST winter.

La Nina= COOLER water, less energy in the STJ This winter.

Despite the cold, we've not had many snow changes because of the lack of energy in the STJ (Sub tropical Jet)

The pattern MAY allow a little more sub tropical jet energy to be introduced to the pattern which COULD spawn a storm that rides the coast. Time is Saturday into Sunday as of now but keep in mind this is attempting to time energy aloft that is still over Sibera.

As a teaser--this is a precipitation output (Disclaimer- the precip forecast are the WORST thing computers model--just using this as an EXAMPLE. Most of VA has between a half inch and inch and a quarter of liquid. If its snow-- would be a decent event.

Now, this is 7 days out. There are no promises, just a tease. And, would be on the exact day of our first big snow from last year, December 18th.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cold, Rain and then back to cold **Edit to say record cold**

The cold will continue through the rest of the week, "warming" a little late week and a system will form in the planes and track to our north and west, leaving us in the warm sector and we get rain. This system will dump more cold air in its wake and leave us cold and dry next week.

Simply put, the pattern right now doesn't look to support snow over the next 10 days. Cold--yes, but this pattern would most likely be cold, warm up, rain, then cold. Despite a record setting - NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) The Pacific Pattern isn't helping at all--and this "should" hold serve the next 10 days.

** Updated to say this could be record cold. Its been an unusually strong -NAO block and as this rebuilds it will dump bitter cold air over the north east and mid atlantic a few days. Be ready**

Friday, December 3, 2010

The little Clipper that could..maybe?? 2 models come back with a tad more snow.

** Data now snows 1-2 inches likely region wide**

Clippers are fun when they make it to our region--- hard to forecast, but in if your wrong-- an inch or two isn't going to shut the town down for a few days. Someone in my weather community compared this event to the Dec 24th 1999 clipper--was forecast to be flurries and ended up dumping almost 3 inches in Lynchburg, on Christmas Eve.

Computer modeling has come a long way in the past few years, but still has some basic flaws. All models often have a "south bias"--so as a storm gets closer it moves north. Think of the snowfall last winter on Jan 30th. For days they thought the best snows would fall over NC and southside, only to charge north late and drop a foot here and Danville mixed with sleet.

This clipper--again is having those same issues. It trended SOUTH, and south and south to where last night it was going to snow in upstate SC (if cold enough). Now, its slowly tracking north via model data--

I'm attaching precipitation forecasts from the 18z (Late afternoon) and 0z (late evening) of the NAM. While these maps are the LEAST reliable (that's another blog)--it shows what I mean--you can see the nudge north in the heaviest band PLUS its a little stronger. Sometimes clippers develop whats called a strong low level jet--which causes convergence (two air masses running into each other forcing the air up. This causes heavier precipitation.

Top image is the latest run--and the bottom image is late afternoon. Note there is more precip east of the Mts and its nudged north.

Last image-- Lift at 7pm tomorrow. Nice band right up and down the 29 corridor.

Lift = snow. 

I'm expecting 2-3 inches in Blacksburg, 1-2 in Roanoke and Danville and a Coating to an inch in Lynchburg. Jog this thing another 30 miles north and those totals could double.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Some light snow likely Saturday, cold and dry after for a while--

A clipper type system should impact our area Saturday with a period of light snow and flurries now likely late afternoon and evening. I'm only expecting a dusting to an inch accumulation. I've attached a precipitation map from the early morning run of a model called the GFS--it shows about a tenth of an inch liquid, which matches my thoughts.

From there--cold is the word. Some lows in the TEENS and highs struggling to get past the mid 30's a few days.
Some early indicators show potential 10 days out for a storm. 10 days out means very little other then look for future updates.

Last year, it was an El Nino winter and we had plenty of action in the subtropical jet, this year--la nina, (Colder water near the equator relative to normal) sets up a different type pattern and we tend to not have as much energy in the sub tropical jet. Basically, I would not be shocked if we remain cold and dry.

Monday, November 29, 2010

First Trackable event...

In my winter outlook-- I targeted December as the coldest month and the most likely to be colder than normal AND have some type of snow and cold.

Attached are the 9 and 10 day maps from the ECMWF--the most reliable longer range model.

This is a classic look for a good snowstorm here. If THIS were to play out as shown, it would bust my 5-10 inch winter total forecast.

Of course--this is 9-10 days out. In a La Nina winter, its harder to hold the block in place--if you note there is a storm in place to the NE of Maine. That feature most hold to suppress this storm and hold the cold air in place. If that feature is not there--this event will be MUCH different.

** In a La Nina pattern, the pacific jet is stronger (faster) making blocking harder to hold**

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Winter Outlook 2010-2011

I'm running a day later than I had promised--but the crisp cool day today inspired me to put my thoughts and forecast on paper. I've had my general ideas for several weeks, was just waiting for a little more data to trickle in to double check things.

Winter 10-11

Quite the shift from last winter where we had 200% normal of snow

Season Temp. Forecast +2 above normal

Seasonal Snowfall 5-10 inches. (Same forecast for Roanoke, 2-5 inches for the Danville region) 10-18 inches for the NRV, The favored high elevations of the region get more due to upslope snows. (AKA, places were I doubt anyone will read this blog)
Higher risk for ice storms. 

Monthly breakdown temp bread down


-2 below normal


Starts cooler but ends warm



Still has some colder outbreaks, just warmer overall.

As the long wave pattern adjusts to spring, March will feature rapid swings (Normal to some extent in March) with a higher then normal risk of wintry weather.

Technical talk--

This may bore you if you don't enjoy weather. (I need to post a glossary of terms for those who may care--but if you google these terms you can find them)

I derive my outlook by many means-- First and foremost I read as many detailed outlooks from REAL meteorologists as possible. From there, I study the global patterns based from the El Nino/La Nina regions and other terms such as GLAAM, Mountain Tourque, PDO,QBO, MJO, AO  the past season's hurricane pattern and even snow cover in Eurasia this time a year. From this information I can get a set of years that had similar pre season patterns and check the climo records for those seasons. Its not an exact science, nor do I claim to be my one and only source. With more qualified people creating these "usable comparable years" I see little sense in recreating the wheel as a less qualified forecaster.

Last year, the west based moderate el Nino made it somewhat of an easy call and I'd rate my call an A--- didn't foresee the big snow in December and missed the extreme cold in early January--but other then that it was excellent. The big factors all lined up and I went big and scored big.

This winter's outlook has half the confidence as last years--


In favor of warmth--
Strong La Nina, The Indian Dipole, Positive QBO

In favor of colder--
Long term pattern of the NAO being negative
Snowcover in Eurasia being above normal.
Some research shows that re curving hurricanes from the east coast may be an harbinger of the -NAO being negative in the winter.

We don't have many close analogs because the El Nino went rapid to La Nina and is currently strong. This COULD disrupt the forecast because the norm is a colder December transitioning to warmer as the winter progresses. (If the La Nina has peaked sooner--does the December climo norms not matter is the thought here)

Piecing this together--

Strong La Nina's don't usually bring big snows to our region. Hence, I'm starting cold and moving warmer and expecting below normal snow. However, the snowcover in Eurasia, Re-curving hurricanes and longer term trend of the NAO I expect us to end up in the battle zone between colder air that spends much of the winter bottled up well to our north.

Monthly break down--

December-- Cold pattern develops late November and is strongest until middle of the month. The pattern begins to adjust to a warmer and by early Jan we are in a warmer pattern.


Early month cold gives way big and its a good month- Late month holds chances for a few severe cold outbreaks, but warm wins the month.

Warm pattern holds on with still the occasional risk of a couple cold days with trailing storms as cold fronts clear (See Feb 89 as example)

Storm pattern---

Last season the mean storm track for our region was to our south and east, hence most events were mostly snow and a ton of it. This season, I expect the mean storm track to go to our west placing us in the warm sector. However, the Appalachian Mountains play a role here where the cold air gets trapped against the mountains and we end up with an ice event. Strong La Nina = south east ridge= Warmer temps on the east coast, especially south of 40 latitude. Cold air damming plays BIG role in our ice storms.

These events can be subtle--For example.

Monday is a great day- High 61, low 32
Tuesday feels a little cooler--52 high but the relative humidity drops and the dew point is 8.
Clouds come in Tuesday night and sleet develops. Temp falls down to 25 with the sleet. By the next morning it is 29 with freezing rain. On the other side of the blue ridge towards Tazwell its 44, Charleston WV is 48 and to our east Richmond is 36 and south Danville is 38. Freezing rain lingers all day. The next day the temp is back into the upper 40's. 2 days later temps are back in the 60's.

These type storms come out of the SW--- and can head up into Ohio then reform well to our northeast. That low level cold air being trapped along the Appalachian mountain (There are three types of this "cold air damming" that causes aides in these ice and snow storms) places us in a unique spot for these ice events. If we tap into the colder air that build up over the Arctic (And didn't build up last year because of the pattern) we could see a nasty ice event or two.

For the record, LYH has one of the highest "per hour" freezing rains in the nation--close to 50 hours a year of freezign rain. I use to have a map of the hours. This is a unique climate trait to our region due to the proximity of the Blue Ridge which creates the inability to remove cold air at the bottom 2k or often less feet of the atmosphere.

Much different than last winter--warmer, less snow and more ice. More rapid shifts and in some sense laster winter was cold with shorter bursts of warmth. This year will on some levels be the opposite. Warm, with short bursts of cold.

My biggest concern is 1-2 nasty ice events, not the nuisance ice events I described-- Also, La Nina's breed drought as the pacific jet dominates and everything is progressive with little interaction from the subtropical jet. This is something to monitor as we head into the spring growing season.
Will update as needed.

Remember to add us to your twitter account at Lynchburgwx

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Heaviest snow ever in Lynchburg?

Here is a photo from Jan 30th of this past year---

While working on my winter outlook, I checked on some data from last years various snowfalls. For some reason, I wondered how this heavy snow event compared to others as far as the heaviest snow in an hour and other short specific durations.

In general-

Heavy snow is an inch an hour or more, moderate snow is about a half inch an hour

One unique fact is that the biggest snows on record (Jan 1996, Dec 09, March 93) often give the best depth, but its the duration that wins, not ONE heavy hour. Visibilities associated with these would be Heavy snow--less than a quarter mile, moderate snow-- about a half mile.

My search of the data is limited by the resources online and more importantly, the lack of ALL the hours of data pre 2000--

I'd bet that I am accurate 20 years, likely accurate 30 years and at that point the data is missing WAY to much.

The snow from Jan 30th was about 2 inches an hour between 7 and 8 am, with about 3.3 inches falling between 7 and 9 am.

The heaviest snow of the past 20 years comes down to 2 dates--

1. March 2, 2009. The storm that broke the 13 year double digit snow drought also had ONE of the heaviest snowfalls in the past 20 years. Between 12 am and 2 about 5.1 inches of snow fell. This was part two in a two part system. Part one pass through the area Sunday afternoon. Places Lynchburg south and east had about 2-3 inches of heavy wet snow. As the upper piece of energy passed through, the temps dropped at every level of the atmosphere and the snow bands set up over town for 2 hours. This was a powdery snow--so the liquid equivalent was .27 and the snow ratio was about 19-1. (Inch of liquid would make 19 inches of snow) The heaviest snow fell between 12-1 am with about 2.6 inches falling with a two hour total of 5.1 inches.

2. January 25, 2000- This storm is called the Carolina Crusher as a largely unforecasted and then under forecasted storm developed which brought locally 8-12 inches of snow with upwards of 20 inches in the
Raleigh, NC region.
Local forecasters struggled with a 1-2 inch call issued at 8 PM, upgrade to 2-4 inches at 10 PM and then 6-12 well after the onslaught of snow was on. There was a tremendous amount of dry air to the northwest of this storm, so it only snowed when the heaviest of snows hit the area. From 8 PM on, there was snow in the clouds evaporating as it fell. Snow first trickled out of the clouds around 3 am and it meant business. Between 3:45 and 4 AM a half inch of snow fell. The next two hours 4.7 inches of snow fell-- with 2.6 inches falling between 4 and 5 am.

(On a side note-- My old roomates, Mike, Chris and Jeremy can testify that I was all over this storm, promising them at least 6 inches of snow that night---one look at radar at 2 pm with the classic negative tilt radar presentation sealed the deal for me. I was right, but not by much. 10 miles west of Lynchburg had nothing more than flurries.)

Special mention-
Jan 22 87 had 5 inches fall in 3 hours.

Most other events max out between 1 and 1.5 inches an hour.

Which event had the heaviest---over two hours the March 1-2 09 event does take the cake. However, this was a powdery snow. The Jan 25, 2000 event ended up "officially" as .78 liquid for 7.5 inches of snow. I measure 8.5 inches at my house--which was 4 miles north of the airport. (Not even sure who measured that one)

It is this bloggers opinion that the Jan 25, 2000 storm had the heaviest snow on record for one hour. The fluff from the 09 event was impressive but when you compare 2.6 inches of fluffy snow to 2.6 inches of good ole concrete snow, the concrete wins. However, the 2 hour total of March 1-2 2009 has the 2 hour total lead.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New Home for Lynchburg Weather

As the NFL season starts, fall settles in and its time for me to begin working on my winter outlook. Last years outlook was a slam dunk..
I do enjoy tropical and severe weather, but at some point this hobby can become WAYY to much, so I do place 10x the effort into winter weather.!/note.php?note_id=174886414694

I threw out temps at -2 for the winter and it was more like -4 ish region wide. Snowfall predicted 30' in LYH, 35' ROA and 45' down in Blacksburg. My overall feel for the winter was close--with the only bad part was missing the intense cold snap in early January.

We had a 10 ten snowfall winter--but pretty far off the all time mark set in 1995-1996. We did set a record for snow cover--- with the LYH airport reporting an inch of snow 42 days, shattering the old record of 36 days set in 1978

This winter will be a La Nina---the opposite of an El Nino meaning the global pattern will be much different. My early thoughts would hedge towards colder/ice/snow in December maybe into early January. From there, the pattern shifts and we sit on the mild side of things most of January and well into February. During this time, we will see SOME cold air outbreaks, but they won't last but 2-5 days at best.

The pattern MAY shift back late February into March---this is a may, not WILL.

I'm not willing to put any exact numbers, but I'd December comes in colder then normal, January comes in much above normal and February is slightly above. Snowfall is hard to call with one event often making or breaking this number. Normal in Lynchburg is 18 inches.  This winter looks to come in on the low side--with a higher risk for significant ice events.