As expected we have some cooler/colder air in place. We’ve been talking about that since the end of last week. However, the chance for a wintry mix is a bit more up in the air as some of the models have changed their tune. Let’s talk about it…
Yesterday, the strong cold front moved through the region as expected. Today it is stalling out offshore.
It is setting up near the Gulf Stream, and it will sit near there for the next couple of days. High pressure is sitting to our west, but this time the high won’t build east. Instead, it will sit to our west for a while. Temperatures have dropped about 15-20 degrees in the last 24 hours. We started in the low 40s, but this is actually a little above the average low temps which are in the upper 30s this time of year. We did have some drizzle early this morning with isolated showers over northeast North Carolina, but the radar looked wetter than it actually was.
Today we’ll see lots of clouds in the region. There may be some isolated showers, but I don’t think there will be much. I’m hoping that the sun will pop out a little bit, but I might be too optimistic. Either way temps will aim for the upper 40s to low 50s. If we see more sun, then low 50s will be more common. Winds will be light and out of the northwest.
By late tonight the moisture will increase in the region. Clouds will thicken up over the area. Some rain will move northward between 2 and 5am. It will keep going through 7am.
Temps will be in the upper 30s to around 40 at the time. It will be cold enough aloft that a few sleet pellets could mix-in with the rain showers. It won’t be enough to cause any problems, but wet roads could slow down the morning commute. Through the day tomorrow we will have a chilly rain. Temps will be in the 40s through the day with on-and-off rain showers.
Between Friday night and Saturday morning a weak area of low pressure will form offshore along the front. The front actually might push back to the west a bit, but it won’t get too close to our coast. There will also be a sizable trough (dip in the jetstream) overhead. Colder air will start to nudge into the area after midnight. This will allow for a wintry mix to form over parts of the region.
There will likely be a mix of cold rain, sleet, and some wet snow in the region. This is more likely north and west of the metro where temps will be colder. However, our Future Trak model is now suggesting that there won’t be much moisture reaching those colder areas. Here is what it shows for Saturday morning:
An earlier version had the precipitation farther north and west with a few small areas of mixed precip. It really hasn’t shown much though in the last 24 hours. Other models have backed off of the mixed precip a little bit. The European model still shows a mix in the region, but it has really lowered the snow amounts. I won’t show those. The GFS has some areas of wintry mix in the region, but it doesn’t have any area of just snow. It has no snow totals. The hi-resolution NAM is in range now. I really like using that model when it comes to precipitation type. It does show mostly a cold rain from Friday night into Saturday morning. It does have a little snow/wintry mix inland an north of the metro. This is from Wakefield through Middlesex county up to Accomack County. It keeps Hampton Roads in the rain. That is the overnight version (6Z). The National Weather Service has also lowered there expectation for any snow trying to stick. They mention some inland areas and a few spots north of the metro.
So…at this time I don’t think this is going to be a big deal. The ground will be wet. Surface temps will be above freezing. Soil temps are well above freezing. Also, we’ll see how much moisture pushes north anyway. Finally, if it does happen, then it will mostly be early Saturday morning when not too many folks are awake.
There is always lots of buzz about the first frozen precipitation of the season. Even if it is just a wintry mix. Any snow that would try to mix in would be early Saturday morning. The models do dry things out through the day on Saturday, but some models are earlier than others. So cold rain could linger for a while. High temps will rise into the 40s. So even if anything did stick in the morning, it would eventually melt.
Sunday will be cold and drier. Highs will be in the 40s with partly cloudy skies. A big trough will still be overhead. So I wouldn’t be surprised if a few flurries fell. These would be similar to instability showers as the upper levels will be much colder and the lower layers.
We’ll warm up a bit on Monday and Tuesday. Highs will be in the 50s. Another cold front will move into the region Tuesday night into Wednesday. There may be another shot at a wintry mix in the region, but the models have backed off of that as well. Stay tuned for updates. We’ll see how the models trend.
Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler