Behind the scenes: National Weather Service in Wakefield preps for winter weather

WAVY's Joe Fisher went behind the scene at the National Weather Service in Wakefield Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, for a look at how they prepare for a major winter storm. Credit: WAVY Photo/Joe Fisher.

WAKEFIELD, Va. (WAVY) — Meteorologists at the National Weather Center are predicting between six inches and a foot of snowfall this weekend from Williamsburg south into northeast North Carolina.

Eight staff members manned the Wakefield office Thursday afternoon, as they worked to prepare the most accurate and up-to-date forecast.

“I think there’s always a bit of stress,” said Jeff Orrock, meteorologist-in-charge. “Things have trended higher this time.”

Orrock says the staff works around the clock to monitor more than 70 different satellite and radar models. The models help them to better define the storm.

Dutter says they take pride in being accurate.

“We take all weather very seriously,” said Dutter. “A lot of times weather can be life and death. It’s important.”

No matter how much falls, Orrock expects travel to be crippled on the roads, at the port and at local airports.

The NWS has already spent hours communicating with the Virginia Department of Transportation and emergency managers in local cities. Conference calls in anticipation of the snow will continue Friday, according to Orruck.

The Wakefield office issues any watches or warnings. A Winter Storm Warning is set to take effect Friday night.

“Being that it’s going to be a wet snow, it means it could stick to the trees. With a little bit of wind, you could get a few power lines hit by falling trees or limbs.”

Orruck says temperatures will not go above freezing until at least Tuesday. He recommends people stay at home and remain off the roads throughout the weekend.