We had a little sleet and snow at the start of rain around Southwest Virginia on Sunday night as moisture fell through some cold, dry air aloft, inducing evaporational cooling. It appears on radar that most of the night’s rain has already past, though some more showers may develop before a cold front arrives Monday. This is going to be one of those cold fronts that you’ll wonder why it’s called a “cold” front because its westerly winds, blowing over and down the Appalachian slopes, will actually help push temperatures near or above 60 in much of the region each of the next 2 days. The air behind it is more Pacific in origin rather than from the Arctic, so even nighttime lows won’t be all that cold, 30s mostly.
Forecast guidance is widely divergent on Wednesday’s storm system. I’m going to give it another day to see if it clears up a little more, considering that it varies from the low going well south of us and barely precipitating at all (Sunday’s European model) to taking a steep northward turn that would give us all rain (Sunday night’s North American Model). It remains a marginal situation for snow, with limited cold air, but we’ve seen plenty of these work out for at least some snow in our region lately. I think you may see some sort of weekend system rematerialize as a possibility, too, as some energy rounds the large central/eastern U.S. trough with a deeper supply of cold air.
In the meantime … here is the weekly exercise in futility called the snow meter.
(O to 10 chance of 1 inch of snow during the time period)
Roanoke 6 snowflakes ******
Blacksburg 6 snowflakes ******
Outlook: Another week, another marginal winter weather setup. The track of a Wednesday storm system and the temperature structure of the atmosphere are very much in question three days beforehand, but generally suggest at least some snow will fall in Southwest Virginia at midweek. There may be another shot at snow next weekend as well, though this is, of course, vague five or six days out. With perhaps two swings at the bat for potential snow, and a tendency this winter for marginal setups to come through with at least some accumulation, I’m going a little on the “probably” side for getting an inch of snow this week at both Roanoke and Blacksburg.
Looking back: My Blacksburg losing streak reaches four by the margin of two-tenths of an inch, as the National Weather Service office measured 0.8 inch total on Thursday night and early Friday.That fell short of the 1-inch threshold on a week I gave Blacksburg five flakes out of 10, so by my rules, I take a narrow loss for not getting an inch on a week I went five flakes or higher. As for Roanoke, there was no good reason to expect 3.5 inches of snow five hours beforehand on Thursday, let alone five days, so my three snowflakes out of 10 pick was a big upset loss (getting an inch or more on a week I picked below five flakes).
Current records: 7-3 for Roanoke, 5-5 for Blacksburg.