Tracking the potential for snow next week

Posted at 10:39 PM, Nov 07, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-08 07:38:31-05

Winter Weather Setup1

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – A lot of factors need to come together just right for us to get an early season snow, and there is at least some indication from medium range models that we could see that happen during the middle of next week.

The first thing we need is the cold air, and it’s the one thing that seems the most certain.

A very cold air mass will drop south and eastward out of Canada early next week, arriving in Virginia late Tuesday.

Winter Weather Setup2

The part of the forecast with more uncertainty is whether or not a closed upper low will develop to our west.  If we see strong pressure falls at the surface ahead of such an upper low, the development of a nor’easter is much more likely.  With a nor’easter would come the greatest potential for accumulating snowfall.

Winter Weather Setup3

The above graphic shows the accumulation of snowfall forecast by the latest Euro model run (12z on 11/7).

In this scenario with a full-fledged nor’easter, over a foot of snow would be possible over the mountains of  West Virginia, and accumulating snow over the western part of Virginia.  We’ll be fighting low-level warm air and seasonally warm ground temps, so even these aggressive totals would need to be adjusted.

If you are reading this and live in the Richmond metro area, you no doubt are drawn to the sharp gradient of snowfall totals just to your west on the graphic above.

As of this UPDATE Friday morning, the latest snowfall accumulations are 12.1″ from the 00z Euro, and 0.0″ from the 00z GFS.

Previous runs from the Euro have shown as little as 0.1″ of snow to as much as 11″ for Richmond.

Bottom line:  There’s enough of a signal to get excited if you’re a snow lover, but also plenty of time for this thing to fizzle out if you’re not a fan of winter.

I’ll keep the updates coming.  Stay With CBS 6, We’ll Keep You Ahead of the Storm. -Zach