Same old, same old today, with cold northwest winds and more snow showers, mostly west of Roanoke, caused by those winds blowing over the Appalachian slopes, lifting and squeezing out moisture. There will be a slow dwindling of low-level moisture that will very slowly decrease intensity and coverage of snow showers by Thursday, and they should finally end by Friday. A slow warming trend will be on tap this weekend, with some low 60s possible by Sunday and Monday, especially Roanoke south and east. The big question for the Easter weekend is when exactly showers might roll in. We’ll try to pinpoint that better as we get closer.
Today’s Weather Journal column, linked here, looks back at other large spring snows in the past several decades at Roanoke and Blacksburg. (Spring here is defined as astronomical spring, when the calendar says spring March 20 or shortly thereafter each year, not meteorological spring, which begins March 1 for statistical convenience. So the 1993 Superstorm, for instance, which happened March 12-13, doesn’t count as a “spring snow” as defined here.) Before researching this column, I knew nothing about the March 22-23, 1981, snowstorm that dumped 13 inches on Blacksburg and 9 inches on Roanoke, which appears to be the largest spring snow at both sites in the modern era of record-keeping (since 1947 at Roanoke, 1953 at Blacksburg). Some of the other spring snows, like the twin snowstorms of 1971, early April 1987, late March 2003 and late April 1978 we’ve discussed at varying levels on here previously. I went back and looked at weather maps for each of these events, and the one linking element is a coastal low-pressure system (except for 1987, when it is a little inland — and 2013, with the additional strong inland low). I’ve linked those weather maps below if you want to take a look. All these maps are for 7 a.m. time periods, so they don’t capture the exact timing of the period of snow in Southwest Virginia in all cases, but they get across the idea of major weather features in play.