RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — There is a lot of speculation as to the upcoming weather for Sunday into Monday.
Right now, you can look at weather forecast models that will show everything from a cold rain to snow and everything in between. We can certainly get snow at this time of year in Richmond and Central Virginia. It has happened before and it will again, but will it this time?
If you look online you will find computer models that are all over the place ranging from just about nothing happening (The Canadian) to a storm passing south and just glancing us (The Euro), to a nasty looking storm for the area (The GFS).
Which one is correct? Well five days out, any of them could be right since we are dealing with a system right now that would be in the data void of the Pacific Ocean — Thursday would be when the data starts to firm up a little bit.
I would toss the Canadian model out for right now. The operational version of the European model has a system passing to the south of us and just touching us with rainfall. In a way being south of us right now might be a good thing, as these forecast tend to slip north with time. When you look at the ensemble versions of the Euro (Think of the operational model as Diet Coke, then the ensembles are Diet Coke Lime, Diet Coke Lemon, Diet Coke Raspberry, etc) they do support a storm that is a little more to the north.
The GFS model is the one that looks scary as of right now. This one brings a system on Sunday along and just south of the VA/NC border. It allows for cold air to get trapped in the Piedmont Region, say west of US-15, and could set them up for some snow. As the storm moves to the east, it will pull cold air to the east eventually change us over to a wet snow on Sunday night into Monday. That’s **IF** this model is right (which is probably isn’t.)
A couple things to remember: First, the ground surface will be warm. Second, we won’t have a lot of cold air banked up over us. Third, the models that you see on the internet “assume” 10 inches of snow for each inch of rainfall. This system would be closer to 5 or 6 to 1.
What do I think will happen as of right now? Well, the GFS model has been running with a “hot hand” recently, so let’s give it some credence. Snowstorms in our area do happen in the mid-portion of March (We are coming up on the 25th anniversary of the SuperStorm from 1993, which dropped 3” of snow here but 18” on Afton Mountain).
So I think we will get some rain on Sunday, maybe changing to snow in the evening and the overnight hours, but probably being just a slushy mix here in the Metro area. To the west, once you get WEST of US-15 there is a good chance of some accumulations happening. Out in the Valley, things could really be a mess, which means get the kids who are on Spring Break from Radford and VT back early.