Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Light Snow Possible Early Thursday

A storm system bringing heavy snow to the southern Plains will track through the Southeast U.S. over the next 48 hours, bringing another rare snowfall to parts of the Deep South that have already seen several snowfalls this Winter. The low responsible for this snow will track to Virginia's south (as a result of the jet stream's current dig into the south-central U.S.)...too far south, in fact, to bring us a significant snowfall. Eastern North Carolina could receive more snowfall than we do! Here's the expected southern track of the low:
We'll see the increase in cloud-cover ahead of this system on Wednesday.

Light snow is possible overnight Wednesday into early Thursday morning in central Virginia as this low passes to our south. Here's a close-up view of central Virginia during the overnight period:

The main reason why we could get some snow out of this storm, despite its southern track, is because the upper vorticity maximum will pass over us during this time-frame, enabling some snowfall to occur. Any snow that does fall will end shortly after sunrise from northwest to southeast in Virginia as the low continues to track to our southeast.

Some shifts in the exact track of the low are still possible, which would influence our snowfall potential in Virginia, especially southern Virginia. As for accumulations, several of the models continue to indicate generally less than an inch of snowfall for most of Virginia, with some locations missing out entirely. Here is a good middle-ground estimate of potential snowfall accumulation:

Although this doesn't look like a big event in central Virginia, this light snowfall could make your Thursday morning commute a bit slippery if snow is on the ground and roads. Morning lows should be below freezing Thursday, and ice could form as a result. Our next nearly non-existent chance for snow will be late Friday if the coastal low retrogrades back westward toward eastern Virginia and North Carolina. If that happens, we could get a little light snow, but that scenario appears highly unlikely right now for us in the Commonwealth. The Outer Banks appear best-positioned to get another round of snow on the backside of that low early this weekend.