The inaugural “Weather Journal snow meter” appears in Monday’s editions of The Roanoke Times. It is a feature I will be doing in each Monday morning’s paper (and here on the blog) for the next 3 1/2 months or so rating our chances of getting at least 1 inch of snow during the next week — Monday through Sunday — at Roanoke (Regional Airport) and Blacksburg (National Weather Service office) with zero snowflakes being no chance and 10 snowflakes being certainty. Below I’m reprinting the “snow meter” from what appears in the paper. I am keeping track of my accuracy through a highly simplified “win-loss” record that I explain in the text. It also explains the general weather pattern for the next week, so it will suffice to describe what to expect this week in our weather.
Weather Journal snow meter, 12/2-12/8:
Roanoke * (1 snowflake out of 10)
Blacksburg: ** (2 snowflakes out of 10)
Outlook: The first half of the coming week will be mild, with highs in the 60s to near 70, as west-southwesterly flow around a strong low in the Pacific Northwest sweeps warmer air across the country. By midweek (Wednesday morning weather map at left) and again toward the late part of the weekend, storm systems to our northwest will swing cold fronts through, bringing shots of air from Canada. The later one may be particularly strong, but may not arrive in time for this week’s snow meter. Even if it does, it’s doubtful it would produce anything more than typical mountain snow showers on northwest winds. An inch or more of snow is unlikely under any reasonable scenarios this week, but the slim possibility of snowflakes late Sunday is the only reason I’m not handing out a pair of zeroes on this inaugural snow meter.
Season to date: Through the season I’ll give myself a win-loss record. For that purpose, five flakes or more will count as if I’m saying it will snow an inch, and fewer than five will count as if I’m saying it won’t. So if I say six flakes and it snows an inch, it’s a win for my prediction, but if it doesn’t, it’s a loss. Official snow on National Weather Service climate reports for the two sites counts, not what you or I measure in our yards. Current records: 0-0 for Roanoke, 0-0 for Blacksburg.