Carolina Snow Potential

7pm Monday 27 January 2014

While we have been keeping an eye on this system since the end of last week, we still believe the core of the accumulating snow stretches from Hampton Roads back through the Tidal Plain of North Carolina.

At this writing, the storm has not formed yet (yikes), which is why we are quite nervous about the outcome. Confidence is average with the system. While we feel good about the timing (Tuesday evening through Tuesday night), the exact location of the heaviest snow is still open for some debate.

Our area will be on the western edge of the snow, meaning areas toward Prince Edward, Charlotte, and Halifax Counties have the best chance to get accumulating snow, but right now, we expect a coating or less.


Forecast snowfall from the RPM simulation via WSI. Based on data from 2pm Monday afternoon. One of several different computer simulations we use to help forecast.

Farther northwest, flurries and non-accumulating snow showers is the call right now.

What can go wrong?

A lot.

If the storm forms just 30 miles farther west, 2-4 inches of snow could fall from Farmville, through Charlotte Court House, into South Boston.  So it cannot be discounted entirely.

Stranger things have happened, given the storm has yet to form.  One could construct a plausible scenario in which a few inches of snow fall in Greater Lynchburg, with nearly 6″ from Farmville to South Boston.  But, we do not think that will be the case… we’d give that scenario a 15% chance of coming to fruition.

The reverse could happen, too… where it forms 30 miles farther east, and nothing at all falls anywhere in the viewing area.  I’d put that chance at 20%.

But we feel very confident that the sweet spot of this storm will be in eastern North Carolina, with 4-8″ likely somewhere between Raleigh and Wilmington.  And we also feel very confident that there will be a sharp and dramatic cut-off to the snow on the western side of this system, and that it will exit the state later Wednesday morning.

“You guys don’t know anything!”

An understandable frustration.  I cannot be as precise as most people would like.  It will be very cold Tuesday, with temperatures 20 degrees below normal in most of Virginia, and it will snow in southeastern Virginia and eastern North Carolina later tomorrow evening. Several inches will fall there tomorrow evening and tomorrow night.

I would prefer to be either in the thick of the thing or too far away to be affected at all. Borderline cases are no fun for anyone.  However, we are tasked with making our best guess.

Which is this:


Forecast snow totals for late Tuesday and Tuesday night. Best guess is that the core of the snow misses us to the southeast, with the far western edge of the consistent snow bringing a coating as nearby as Charlotte Court House and Halifax.

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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