Rain/Snow Mix Arrives Tuesday

Posted at 7:17 PM, Mar 24, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-25 06:09:45-04

Much of central and western Virginia is now under a Winter Weather Advisory and a portion of western Virginia is in a Winter Storm Warning. CLICK HERE for full weather alert information.

An upper-level trough swinging toward us from Tennessee generated a surface low pressure off the Georgia coast overnight. The upper-level energy is already dropping light to moderate snow over southwest Virginia Tuesday morning, and will send snow into the rest of central Virginia through the morning hours. I do not expect snow to start in the greater Richmond metro area until after 7 a.m.

Temperatures will still be freezing through 9 a.m. in the Metro, so that morning window is when we could see traffic impacts from the snowfall as roads may become slippery at the onset of snowfall. As temperatures rise above freezing after 9 a.m., snow will mainly stick to the grass, leaving roads wet and slushy. There may be a lull in precipitation around lunch before the coastal low nears Virginia and sends in more moisture, coinciding with the upper-level energy passing over us. I expect a wet snow mixing with rain through the afternoon hours, which means a wet evening commute for you.

Because the snow will mix with and change to rain at times today, and combined with above-freezing surface temps, any accumulations will be limited to grassy surfaces. In the Metro, we expect an inch or less of snowfall accumulation. Higher accumulations are likely as you go north and west of Richmond. Snow showers will taper off overnight.

But as our snow ends, the low offshore will rapidly intensify into a nor’easter with hurricane-force winds offshore and seas up to 32 feet Wednesday! Its track will (thankfully) be just a little too far east to bring much of an impact to the Eastern Seaboard, but this will be a dangerous storm for the Atlantic Ocean offshore.

Surface temps will be above freezing for the majority of the event, if you want to call it an event, so accumulations will be slushy and limited to the grassy surfaces.  Here’s a look at the temperature line as a function of time:

Zach Winter Timeline

Below is the snowfall forecast for the area.  Keep in mind, almost all of this will be on the grassy surfaces, and by “all of this”, I mean that whopping 1″ or less I’m expecting for the metro.  The roads should just be wet, but be careful if you are traveling either early in the morning (before 9 AM) or late night (after midnight).

Snowfall Forecast

The extended pattern favors a continued west-east progression of disturbances, but little chance for anything wintry. It appears this will be winter’s last gasp, and despite loving snow, I’m glad to be moving on to Spring.  Something tells me I’m not alone. -Zach & the CBS 6 Storm Team

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