According to the Southeast Regional Climate Center’s “Climate Perspectives” database, the first 10 days of December 2012, averaging 51.8 degrees, are the 3rd warmest such period in the modern history of Roanoke weather data, dating back to 1947 when the current official Roanoke airport site began. (Dec. 1-10 were warmer only in 1998 and 1956.) But a cold front moving through overnight and early Tuesday will bring a temporary end to the mild December weather. We’ll have rather typical December temperatures the next 2-3 days, with highs in the 40s and lows in the 20s to low 30s. (Map at left shows projected lows for Thursday morning). A wave of low-pressure forming just off the coast along the front may kick some moisture back inland Wednesday into early Thursday, but it does not appear it will get far enough west to produce a “snow meter”-busting snow — maybe some rain showers for central and eastern Virginia, perhaps mixed with sleet/snow near the western fringe.
A new low-pressure system tracking northwest of us will drag another cold front through this weekend, short-circuiting a brief late-week warmup they may again get us into the 60s for a day or two. It’s uncertain for now how much needed rain this would produce in our regoion, dependent on how much Gulf of Mexico moisture it can pull in from our south and Atlantic moisture from the east. Tracking to our northwest, it may again be a limited shower event. I’ll go ahead and link the 0Z GFS version of a possible storm system next week, just to give snow lovers a ray of hope. All the green behind the blue line would be snow, if you take it very literally, which is usually not a good idea on a model run a week out, especially the GFS. The European model, generally more accurate in the long range, has it much farther inland along or just west of the Appalachians, which might be a path for a soaking rain we need for our drought situation. Either way, something to watch about a week out.