Friday, February 28, 2014

Monday, Monday-

I've been monitoring a storm for Monday. It's been the model battle of the year.

The set up:

Sunday will be a fantastic day. Warm-- 55-60, maybe a few bonus degrees if you are nice. However, a SUPER strong arctic front is poised to charge through our area RIGHT as a storm approaches.

As the norm, TIMING will be everything.

The outcome:

Largely undecided at this point.

Best case- Some rain showers Monday, ending as a few flurries and then it gets COLD fast. Temps Tuesday morning may be as low as 10 degrees.

Middle of the road-- Cold air is faster, we flip to snow quickly and get a few inches.

Worst case: Cold air seeps in slowly and we get rain, to freezing rain, to sleet ending as snow. Whatever is on the ground freezes into a BLOCK, which may be under an inch but would just be a total pain to plow, etc.

As of now, I'm leaning a blend with rain flipping to sleet, ending as snow. 1-3 inches EAST of the  Blue Ridge, highest amounts NORTH like Amherst and Nelson County. Roanoke, NRV and Danville flip later with coating to an inch-- of sleet and snow that freezes into a brick as well.

Will update as needed, which will be often. My kids are tired of missing school so I have to pretend to root this one away.

Crystal Ball:

Some model data has hinted at another "Miller A" (Storm that forms in the Gulf and rides the coast) late next week. Exact track and amount of cold air largely in question. I like the potential for a decent event-- but we have a lot to deal with before then.

Cheer up, now-- the cold coming Monday is SUPER cold for March, but even with that, the sun angle is comparable to October so snow and ice WILL melt faster. So, no matter what-- it will only be a day or two.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Minor snow possible Friday Night

Well, I may go back over this event-- but all in all, fun time.

10 inches Lynchburg

18-24 up and down 81.

I'd grade my forecast a B+

10-18 region wide, mentions of sleet and freezing rain east when NO other vendor said anything of it.

Downside, sleet came early, 18+ over large area.

Tomorrow night-- NWS says rain changes to snow 1-2 inches.

Another "clipper" type system will approach tomorrow. Initially, it may be a bit warm but it should cool and fall as snow for a while. Temps will be low 30's so it won't be a huge mess, but I'd think based on thermal profiles we get mostly rain, ending as snow.

Pretty strong energy aloft, so we'll have to watch this one carefully to make sure we don't get any surprises.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Game time@ Who want's to go fast??

Snow has just started in Lynchburg. Looks decent already.

If most of the area doesn't break 10 inches, I'll be disappointed.

LYH really should have a top 10 event.

12.7 is the 10th best snowfall in the past 100 years. We should crack that list.

If every thing goes right, top 3 is possible with Ash Wednesday is 17.9 , number 4 is 14.8 inches back in 1948.

NWS has finally introduced sleet from Danvill through South Boston. Sleet could reach here tomorrow AM for a while as we get into a lull.

Any trends today has made tomorrow look more impressive with the passage of the upper air low. I think most have 8-14 on the ground by morning and tomorrow ads 2 to 8 inches depending on where the best banding sets up as the ULL passes.

Thundersnow possible later this evening as the steep lapse rates and tremendous lift goes overhead.

Thundersnow also possible tomorrow with passage of ULL.

Consistency Matters. Top Ten snowfall of past 100 years LIKELY!

In a world of projections, consistency matters.

The Euro has been SO consistent it is scary. In a traditional Miller A, ( storm that originates in the Gulf and moves up the coast) the Euro has show everything we'd be expect and has shown the "mix" line right to Danville and Farmville run after run. It has shown us getting OVER a foot since Saturday. That's unheard of. A few other models have been consistent with something, but this has been nothing short of magical.

Not making a snowmap. 10-18 inches region wide, with a few places maybe getting more.

Snowfall moves in mid to late afternoon, 6pm at the latest in the northern regions.

Looking at records:

In Lynchburg: 
#10 is 12.7 inches, we have a 60% chance of breaking that.
#4 is 14.8 35% chance of beating that
#3 is 17.8  15 % chance we beat that.

# 1 from Blizzard of 96 is likely safe.

In Roanoke:
 12.3 is #10 70% chance that record falls
# 6 is 14.4 from 1961 has a 40% chance of falling
# 4 is 17.4 from 1960 25% chance of falling

#1 is likely safe at 24 inches. :)

Thundersnow VERY possible during the late evening today and then again tomorrow morning.

Storm breakdown:

Once the snow starts, it will be heavy. Some projections have us approaching double digits by MIDNIGHT or shortly thereafter.

At some point, we hit a lull, especially east of the Blue Ridge. In this lull, some freezing drizzle and sleet is possible. Snow we pull back into the region from west to east and then start to taper off afternoon.

Can anything go wrong?? Well, of course. I'd be shocked if most of our region does not see at least 10 inches, but this is a fickle storm. I have some concern about mixing especially Danville to Farmville area. However, factored into that is my 10 inches low mark.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Historical Perspective

Where can this storm rank? I'm not going up, YET from my 8-12 call. The European has 15-20 for our region, but that's a best case. A little more data gets added as the northern energy finally comes ashore and that should help. This needs to strengthen FAST enough and slow down enough to be a top 10 storm, and I'm not convinced we do that.. YET.

So, as of now--8-12 inches, region wide. Maybe a little sleet mixes in Danville to Farmville, with even a little rain or drizzle EVERYWHERE as it winds down Thursday. Temps will be in the mid 20's during the event Wednesday night, but will quickly rise towards freezing as Thursday AM as the event winds down.

Will update later as more data comes in.

If you follow Dave Tolloris at or FB under that name, he has Lynchburg in the 16-20 inch mark which would be a top 5 event ever in Lynchburg.

Lynchburg VA top 10 snowfalls per Paul Kocin's Book. I believe it's missing a 14.3 from Feb 1899, as I actually checked newspaper archives 10 years ago or so, but don't want to add it unverified.

1.Jan 6-7 1996   -21.4
2. Knickerbocker storm   Jan 27-28 1922- 20.2
3. Ash Wednesday Storm March 5-7 1962 -17.9
4. Feb 25-26 1934 -14.8
5. Feb 10-11 1983 -14.6
6. Jan 31-Feb 1 1948 -14.5
7. Feb 28-March 1 1969 -13.7
8. Superstorm March 12-13 1993- 13.0
9. Feb 13-14 1960 -12.8
10 December 25-26, 1969 12.7

Roanoke has a top storm of 24.9 from Jan 1996 and #10 is 12.3 from Jan 1966. (adding the 18.6 from 2009)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Best region wide event in 4 years likely..

With minor details to be worked out (Minor in that well, I could see 8 inches or I could see 16 inches falling over much of the region..a big snow is coming.

Here is the ironic thing-- I moved to Lynchburg in 1996 and we had just ended a great winter. I moved in August. We had NO 10+ events for 13 years and really very few events over 6 inches, maybe only 2-3. Since 2009 we have 3 storms over 10 inches and 3 over 6 inches. This should be the seventh of at least 6 and a 10 incher is VERY possible right now.

Snowiest models


Both of those models show totals that would be a top 10 event. They are stronger aloft with upper air energy and phase them quicker.


Big snow falls of 6-10 inches.

No model gives us under 6 inches.

Issues to be resolved:
1. The exact timing of the phase will impact the strength of the storm which translates to how much falls.

2. Mixing issues: Fairly confident anywhere west of the Blue Ridge is all snow. Lynchburg is looking more likely to be mainly snow, but often for a couple hours there will be a few pellets here and there.

3. Exact tract of the low and the trajectory in which it leaves-- the models with best snows take the low from lets say Wilminton, NC to west of Cape Hatteras to just east of VAB.

Also, the Upper air energy as it comes through can often surprise. The NAM model brings it through late and adds a couple to 5 inches late in the event everywhere. IF the low departs more ENE, we would end up with a little more.

Current Call:

Anywhere west of the BR, South of Staunton, 8-12 inches to start. Could easily add 6 inches to this total.
This includes Roanoke, Blacksburg, etc.

SML to Lynchburg 6-10, with a lower number for mixing with sleet and best bands to our west. Could easily add 6 inches to this.

Martinville,, Danville east to Farmville
4-8 inches, lower due to mixing with sleet, Could easily add 6 inches to this.

Updates on FB and Twitter as needed. Exciting times.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Firing up the Bat Signal and got..

Honestly, I liked it better when I had more information before many of my readers saw a snow map and thought it was legit.

My goal is to inform and educate but also speculate. However, I like to be accurate and when the notion is that 8-12 is being thrown around makes my job harder.

So, we have a cold front coming through-- outside shot of a coating to an inch tomorrow from 460 south to Danville with the cold air coming through. (Some model data shows it, other don't but it could happen) Will be a "last second" update-- but please be aware there is a threat tomorrow for a dusting to an inch.

Cold front clears and as modeled we get "phasing" at the perfect time that brings a low up the coast for a pretty big event. Most areas have had a GOOD event of 5-8 inches-- here in LYH we had 8 inches on Feb 19th, 2012 and 6-7 inches on Palm Sunday. Roanoke and Blacksburg have had a few events of 4-8 inches but we've not seen an across the board, 6+ inch event.

This has a legit shot to be that event.

Key issues

1.  We need phasing of the jets at the right time to create our storm and pull it north. If this doesn't happen, we won't get much.

2. We need the cold air to be as cold as modeled, or mixing will be a BIGGER concern. (Maybe even rain)

3.  We need the track to be close enough to being the heavy moisture but far enough to not warm it up. A few runs of the Euro have taken the low inland where it CLEARLY changes to ice at least up to the Blue Ridge.

4. We the High pressure to slow down just enough to keep our cold air REASONABLE along with a psuedo 50/50 low to hold long enough. This is a fast moving system so I'm not asking for a miracle, just enough to get our storm.

5. Can't completely rule out that it jogs so far inland we get RAIN. (Especially East of the Blue Ridge)

My guess is that we get a big precipitation maker, over an inch of liquid but will battle the sleet and freezing rain at some point, especially east of the Blue Ridge. 

Option 1: If the low stays too far south and east we are looking at a 1-5 inch snow fall.

Option 2: If the low is strong but comes to close we'd be looking at a 4-8 with sleet and freezing rain event.

Option 3: If It take the ideal path, 6-10 would be a reasonable starting point with the potential for more. I think if we max out the event with all snow 10-14 inches is the best we could do.

I don't have a favored path yet, but option 2 seems like a reasonable place to start. I'd start making plans for kids schools being out Wednesday and Thursday and MAYBE even Friday, God forbid you didn't have milk or bread, etc. Of course, we should actually be back in the 40's a day or two after this event so enjoy while it's on the ground. :)

More updates later on FB and Twitter.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Active week on tap

The two waves will come and go over the weekend with at best, a coating to an inch. Two factors working against us will be limited moisture and relative warmth. So, I think we see a couple hours of light Saturday am that will whiten the mulch or something, and melts by 2-3 pm. Sunday brings more of the same.

Mid week is more promising for a bigger event..

Wave one: May end up being north, but some data suggest we could get an inch or two. This may end up a Mason Dixon line special, like everything else this winter.

There COULD be some overunning before the NEXT event, but I'm not willing to commit.

Wave 2: Low pressure forms in the gulf and moves NE to a point off the North Carolina coast. This should be a more moisture laden system. The issue will be the cold air is not anchored in place. On the GFS model in this range, I can get views of the atmosphere and get a good gauge on if we are getting snow, sleet or whatever else may fall. The Euro model makes you pay $$ for those and as a result I have to infer.

Last run of GFS gives us a couple inches and a quick change to ice.

Last euro gives 1-2 inches Monday with a larger event Wednesday. Larger as in over 6 inches, that if all snow would be near 10-- but likely has some sleet and freezing rain late. Not a forecast-- just passing along what the model shows.


What could prevent us from getting a bigger snow.

I've made some crude additions to this map. Note there are 2 L's on my map. One is near the panhandle of Florida and the other is right over Minnesota. We like the low coming out the Gulf of Mexico but the MN low is a problem in that it warms things up, especially above 5k feet. (AKA, ice probems below that)

Also, note the Big H off the coast of Maine. That's our cold air source- High pressue, LEAVING.  Now, it COULD be just strong enough to let the mid week event fall as snow. COULD BE.. but that's not super likely. We'd like that HP over the Great Lakes or Upstate NY.

That makes me think as we trend closer, we could end up have more of an ice storm and less of a snow storm for wave 2. Something like 2-4 inches of snow and sleet with a glaze of ice on top...

Summary: Weekend events up to a coating both Saturday and Sunday. First Wave Monday maybe 1- 3 inches, Next Wave Wednesday--Good potential for a meaningful snow and ice event. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Quick snow update

The most hyped FB blizzard of all time is on the way. :)

Model data has trended nice for a dusting to an inch, maybe 2 in the favored spots Saturday AM.  Will watch because one trend has been to make storms a little wetter as they approach. Another piece of energy could bring flurries and snowshowers later Sunday as well, but I think that event is confined to those north of 64 in Charlottesville and Staunton North.

Signals are flying for a possible winter event mid week. No idea to what exactly will happen but snow, ice and rain possible mid week. This has "potential" to be our best event of the year.

Full updated later.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

1, a little 2, a little 3 a mess.

We had mentioned 3 possible events.

Event 1 Monday.

Big rainmaker here, with a POSSIBLE end as sleet and snow. My hunch is the models trend a little north and it's a decent snow Around the Mason Dixon line, away from the coast. If the cold air was 12 hours quicker, this would be a NICE event, but not this time.

Event 2-
I think we start as a little sleet and freezing rain- timing may be ideal where it's overnight and all rain by am. (Except the one person who doesn't listen to the weather and flips their car)

Event 3- Of course, the snow maps on FB event.
Mentioned it had potential to be an ice event and we could be moving towards that. Great cold air in place as the event starts, just nothing to hold it in place.

Option one- Decent snow event that ends as a bad ice storm. This would be Friday night into Saturday.
Some brings the whole piece of energy at once and it's a big storm that cuts to our west, but reforms to our SE. Another option is a smaller event followed by a bigger one. I'm on the option 1. Think it's a big ticket event, that will have ICE as far as NE Georgia next weekend. We should get some front end snow, just not not sure if it's an inch or two or more. Also, could be a decent sleet storm.

Option two.
   Event A. A minor snow and ice event. Friday Night- Saturday
   Event B Bigger Snow Event Sunday