March 6 Snow Update

I would love to tell you we have all of the answers now.  And you can probably find someone who can tell you that they do.  Good for them.

And if you are curious, I went to the grocery store and filled up the car today.

Some small changes since yesterday, but nothing earth-shattering.  It does look like the bull’s eye for this storm will be in the northwestern quarter of Virginia…. north of I-64 and west of US29: Charlottesville, Madsion, Culpeper, Staunton, Waynesboro, Winchester… all have the greatest risk of a 12″+ storm.  And yes, even more is certainly plausible in those spots.

virginia-road-map

Primary and Interstate Highways in Virginia

The temperature field is still the thorniest issue.  The superior ECMWF model still puts down about 3″ of snow across Southside Virginia, 6-9″ in Greater Lynchburg, and more than 12″ for the Shenandoah Valley… southward into Botetourt County… and eastward to the Blue Ridge Parkway locations of Amherst and Nelson Counties.

virginia-counties

Counties and Independent Cities of Virginia

The American models (both the GFS and the NAM) are warmer in their structure of the storm, and have substantially less snow for all areas south of I-64.  In fact, the NAM produces no accumulating snow for Danville or South Boston (although that is more a function of the wind fields and actual precipitation forecast… not so much the temperature pattern).  Of course, I have little confidence in the NAM precipitation forecast (QPF) beyond its 48-hour forecast, but I digress.

The point is that there is still much uncertainty.  Look, it is certainly plausible to get 12″ of snow in Lynchburg.  But it is equally plausible to get only a couple of inches.  But I would be surprised if we got less than 2 inches.

Timing still looks the same… from Tuesday evening through Wednesday evening, with a better than 50/50 shot that the precipitation starts as rain (for Greater Lynchburg and Southside Virginia), before a changeover to snow occurs either late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.

Whether that changeover happens before or after sunrise Wednesday, and how intense the precipitation falls will go a long way in determining what is on the ground when it all finishes up Wednesday night.

So, at this point, I cannot convince myself to move substantially off of yesterday’s figures.  Only enough evidence to bump up the numbers along and north of the I-64 corridor.  Since the storm remains 48 hours from onset, I have put a broader range in parentheses.  Numbers outside of that range would genuinely surprise me… at least right now).

*Greater Lynchburg: 3-6″ (as little as 2″ or as much as 12″)

*Southside Virginia: 2-4″ (as little as zero, or as much as 8″)

Roanoke and New River Valleys: 4-8″ (as little as 2″ or as much as 10″)

Covington-Lexington-Lovingston: 6-12″ (as little as 4″ or as much as 18″)

* Greater Lynchburg includes Lynchburg City, and the Counties of Bedford, Amherst, Appomattox, and Campbell.

* Southside Virginia includes Danville City, and the Counties of Charlotte, Halifax, Henry, and Pittsylvania.

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About seansublette

Meteorologist at Climate Central. Broadcast meteorologist in Virginia from 1995 to 2015. Born and raised in Richmond, VA. Penn State alumnus. Loves baseball and the rock band Rush. Views are independent of my employer. Past performance does not guarantee future results.
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