Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Icy Spots This Morning, Rain & Storms Wednesday

Light freezing drizzle and mist persisted overnight into early morning in central Virginia while temperatures remain in the 28-32 degree range. This light precipitation is producing a thin glaze of ice on vehicles, elevated objects (like steps or porches), and also on pavement. Some light fog is also occurring early this morning in central Virginia, which is freezing as well. Allow extra time to defrost your vehicle and warm it properly. Keep that heater blasting the front windshield during your commute so that any precipitation that hits your glass will melt instead of freezing and inhibiting your driving visibility.

Temperatures should rise above freezing around 9 a.m., about the same time this light precipitation should be wrapping up in central Virginia. The rest of today will be mostly cloudy, but seasonable in the upper 40s for highs.

A potent low pressure storm system is tracking through the Southern Plains early this Tuesday morning, producing blizzard conditions in Oklahoma. Blizzard warnings extend northeast through eastern Kansas, Missouri, much of Iowa and Illinois, northern Indiana, and southern Wisconsin and Michigan (all the areas in red on the map below). The pink areas are Winter Storm Warnings, and the purple are Winter Weather Advisories.

This system should produce more than a foot of snow in some locations, as pointed out in the purple swath in this accumulated snowfall map:

Here's a breakdown of the track of this low pressure system as it moves from the southern plains northeast over the next 48 hours:

As you can see, Virginia will be in the "warm sector" of the storm system, where the low pressure system pulls much warmer, more moist air northward into the Mid-Atlantic from the south. We will get a round of rain and even some thunderstorms starting late Tuesday night through mid-day Wednesday. Here's the expected rainfall accumulations in central Virginia: