Hey ya'll. Been busy this week with school but finally have a few minutes to update. As you know it has been cold. Anyone seen single digits? How about below 5? I would imagine a few places sheltered valleys did. ANYWAYS, as I'm sure you've heard by now. It's gonna snow Friday. I'm sure you've also heard by many media outlets, that this is probably gonna be a pretty big deal. Well, I don't quite think so. While it is not my intention to bash the local or national media in any sense, I do think some have been overplaying this some simply because they busted so bad with last weeks storm.
If one were to look at the setup of last weeks storm - - a low pressure ejecting out of the Gulf of Mexico, along a VERY moist stream of air, SOUTH and EAST of us, the setup was MUCH more favorable for snow. Anyone who lives in VA or NC knows that when a storm passes South of us we have a much better chance at snow. There were some major cautions that even kept me from jumping on board full strength early in the week, but enough was there to without a doubt MENTION it, because I knew the potential impacts and saw them well ahead of time. When you have a low passing to the SE like what happened last week, you simply can't ignore it until the day before. Many private mets, such as David Tolleris, WxSouth, Kevin Myatt, Myself, and Keith Huffman, at least had this on their radar 4-5 days in advance and mentioned it. None of the local stations/media outlets, and hardly the NWS even acknowledged it. Historically and Climatologically speaking systems tracking SE of us have a trend to shift North as time wears on. This is where we get our big snows (many areas saw 8-12").
HOWEVER, with this weeks storm, we are looking at a system diving in from the NW, interacting with a low that looks to track South of us by a hair. While this track is favorable for SOME snow, it is not of the same origin (Gulf of Mexico). If you take models out of the picture. ANYONE who follows meteorology in this part of the world knows that this is NOT a classic setup for heavy snow in our area. SURE, we sometimes get light - moderate snows out of it, but more times than not we see the moisture dry up as it crosses the mountains. Winds come from the West or NW as opposed to the North or Northeast. While I do think it will snow some, I don't see a major storm like last weeks. Some of the media has kind of hinted at this and I simply don't think it is the case. The setup is not favorable for an area wide moderate - heavy snow.
Hope that makes sense. NOW - - onto my official "forecast".
I do think it will snow, I think it is very unlikely that many people see more than 4". I do think there will be a ribbon of 3-5" locally 6", but even that won't be as widespread or carry the impact that last weeks storm did. Your big winners will be the Western Up-slope areas, where I expect an average of 4-6" to fall, locally 8". The reason for this is the setup. A low tracking in from the West/NW will bring winds and moisture from the lakes. The winds hit the Western Ridges. The air rises, it cools, it condenses, it snows more. Pretty easy to understand. Further to the East across the NRV and Mountain Empire, I do expect an area of lift, slightly enhanced orographically do produce some light snow for several hours. Here I think 1-3" is possible. MAINLY 1-2", with a few localized spots of 3". Once you get EAST of the Parkway I expect amounts to drop off significantly and not much more than a dusting to an 1" to occur. Hard to pinpoint where that ribbon of snow will setup right now, but generally thinking it will be from Winston Salem, Greensboro to the East. I may have it too far West right now and will likely require some fine tuning.
It should be noted that this is all dependent on the strength of the Shortwave ejecting from the Rockies. A couple of models that we trust eject this strong and would lead towards a more significant snow. While a couple of models keep it much flatter therefore much lighter. My money is on the much lighter side due to the overall setup. These amounts are not set in stone. IF they go anywhere I expect them to go up slightly. However, that is NOT likely right now. I am fairly confident in this forecast at the stage of the game. Looks like places immediately east of the Parkway, Cana, Mount Airy, Wilkesboro, Bedford, Martinsville, could again be skipped over.
As of right now, I DO NOT expect this to be a high impact event. Rather just a light fluffy snow that is nice to look at. Even if amounts were to tick upwards, It won't have nearly the same impact as last weeks storm. Here is my first initial map: