A chance for Spring snow
No major chances to the set up or timing of this system but the transition from rain to snow this evening will be quicker and with more moisture in place. This change will result in slightly higher snowfall totals, especially for northern areas.
Expect mainly rain during the daylight hours. As the sun begins to set, rain will change to sleet/snow from north to south. All precipitation should clear out shortly after midnight.
By Meteorologists Myles Henderson and Patrick Rockey
It may be the last thing you want to hear as April approaches… spring snow. However, Mother Nature doesn’t seem to care what the date on the calendar says.
Here’s the set up: Cold air pushed into the region on Sunday behind a cold front that crossed Hampton Roads late Saturday. That dropped our temperatures from highs in the 70s on Saturday to 30s and 40s today. The cold air will stay locked in the region for the first half of the week. An area of low pressure is just off of the east coast of Florida and is bringing rain to much of central Florida today. That low will track up the East Coast Tuesday and Wednesday and bring that moisture north. As we have seen before, moisture plus cold air equals snow chances.
What we’re watching: There are still several variables with this set up with both the moisture and cold air. The biggest question is how far south and east the cold (sub-freezing) air will push. If the cold air stays west, we see all rain. If the cold air dives farther south, we see mostly snow. The path of the low will also impact our forecast. If the low hugs the coast line, we will see more moisture, heavier precipitation, and higher totals (rain or snow). If the low tracks farther off the coast, we will see less moisture, lighter precipitation, and lower totals.
What we are expecting: As of now, we are expecting mainly rain from this system but some snow will likely mix in. Our temperatures should be near freezing Tuesday morning and overnight Tuesday into Wednesday. Afternoon high temperatures Tuesday will likely reach into the mid-to-upper 40s. Most models are in agreement that the low will stay some distance off the coastline as it tracks northward. Both of those elements are good news for us.
The timeline: Clouds will build in overnight. Rain chances will be low Tuesday morning, most areas will just see clouds. By midday rain will move in from south to north. A little sleet and snow is possible, but expect mostly rain. Scattered rain showers will continue through the afternoon and evening. As temperatures fall Tuesday evening we should start to see some snow mix in, especially for areas north and inland. Most precipitation will clear out early Wednesday morning, before sunrise.
How much snow? The short answer, not much. Most areas may see snowflakes mix in at time Tuesday evening/night, but little to no accumulation. A 1/4” accumulation is possible for areas west of Williamsburg, the Middle Peninsula, and Eastern Shore. Northern sections of the Eastern Shore could see up to 1/2” of accumulation.
As the precipitation moves out the winds will crank up. Expect northeast winds at 10 to 20 mph and gust in the 30 to 40 mph range late Tuesday and Wednesday. That will cause tides to run a little higher than normal.
How rare is a spring snow in Hampton Roads? Check out Myles’ previous weather blog: http://wtkr.com/2014/03/20/welcome-spring-with-caution/