Friday, February 10, 2012

Weekend Weather Preview

A strong storm system will move through the Mid-Atlantic Saturday, and we'll start to see the signs of it today as cloud-cover increases over us from the west. Here's the early Friday morning infrared satellite picture of the U.S.:

I'll point out two features to you. The first of note is the cold front also associated with the clouds you see moving through the Upper Midwest. That front will move through Virginia Saturday. The second feature is the low pressure system tracking from Texas and pulling in moisture from the Gulf of Mexico into the Mississippi Valley region and the Southeast. As these two features converge in the Mid-Atlantic Saturday, we'll have rounds of cold rain in central Virginia, with snow in the mountains of western Virginia in the colder air. However, as that cold front sweeps through along with the digging upper trough (see the 500mb vorticity picture Saturday evening below) and brings in deeper, colder air, we'll have more snow mixing in with the rain Saturday afternoon and after dark.

It currently does not look like there will be any chance for an accumulating snow in the metro, as surface temps should remain well above freezing during the time of the precipitation (in the 40s). A winter weather advisory will likely be issued for areas to our northwest on Saturday (especially along I-81). After the surface cold front passes Saturday afternoon and evening, you can expect windy and much colder weather, with wind chills plummeting into the 20s and teens. If you have Saturday evening plans, be prepared for a blustery, cold night out! There may be a quick burst of snow in central Virginia on the back side of this storm system as that good upper-level energy passes overhead, including in the Richmond Metro, between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. Saturday. This may lead to a dusting of snow on vehicles and roofs, but no significant accumulation is expected. Here's one forecast map (NAM) of snowfall potential from that final gasp of snow Saturday night:

Sunday will be mostly sunny, very cold with high temperatures struggling to get out of the upper 30s, and also a bit windy behind Saturday's system. The air mass will moderate some on Monday before the next storm system arrives Tuesday morning. The temperature profile for this second storm system will be similar to Saturday's, with the best chance of wintry weather lying just a little north of Richmond.

Stay with CBS 6, we'll keep you ahead of the storm.
--Meteorologist Carrie Rose
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