Forecasts say our area should get snow this weekend along with a first taste of the stuff Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning.
A quick-moving storm could bring some snowflakes falling Tuesday night and into the wee hours of Wednesday, along with a little on the ground in some locations but the weather pattern that the National Weather Service office in Blacksburg is watching could bring about 2.5 inches of snow and/or sleet or more Saturday through Monday.
Like so many storm forecasts, the predictions are iffy and range from a little snow and “wintry mix” to possibility of “a large amount of it.”
Forecast guidance continues to strongly support the likelihood of snow and/or wintry mix affecting our region during the weekend, perhaps a large amount of it, as a low-pressure trough tracks across the southern U.S., lifting abundant Gulf of Mexico moisture into and over cold air pressed southward by high pressure. The exact track and evolution of a surface low-pressure system through the Gulf Coast region and Southeast remain somewhat murky, but the majority of reasonable scenarios would snow on our region at least a few inches, and some computer model solutions would result in several inches.
This storm appears likely to affect our region the latter half of Saturday into Sunday. There is some question as to whether the storm may stall and deepen near Cape Hatteras, holding precipitation over our region for a longer period of time, or if it will zip on through in about 12 hours or less.
While it could still wiggle more to the north, putting us in a bit more of a mix rather than straight snow, it can’t go too far north because of a “confluence” of winds aloft with the polar branch of the jet stream rolling over the Northeast. Winds converging aloft provide a block that won’t allow the storm to move dramatically northward.
The storm still has some room to shift southward, possibly aiming more on the Carolinas than our region, as some models have depicted, but our region is near the middle of the envelope of modeled solutions, and is likely to get at least some snow even with a more southern path. Noting this, the Weather Prediction Center has the most likely patch for significant snow and/or sleet both Saturday and Sunday right over Southwest Virginia.
Myatt does say the weekend could be the only serious storm threat between now and Christmas.
“It does not appear that this likely weekend winter storm will introduce a long period of cold and snow,” he writes. “The pattern generally looks to tilt milder for mid-month, possibly continuing through Christmas. So this may be our only opportunity for/threat of a significant winter storm for multiple weeks ahead.”
Myatt’s record on forecasting is better than those who stand in front of massive graphics on television, so let’s hope he’s right on this one.
The current outlook from the National Weather Service:
This Hazardous Weather Outlook is for northwest North Carolina,
southwest Virginia, west central Virginia and southeast West
.DAY ONE…Today and tonight.
There is a low probability for widespread hazardous weather.
.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN…Wednesday through Monday.
A potential winter storm could bring accumulating snow and ice this