Active pattern could lead to wintry weather next week for Central Virginia

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — We have had one of the most active weather patterns going on in quite some time, especially for this winter. We had the quick shot of extremely cold air from the arctic outbreak a few weeks ago. Then last week, we had the very mild weather where we were in the 60s and 70s for many days.

Now, we are about to have a series of weather systems that will bring us a variety of weather from rain to a wintry mix, and then possibly a larger winter storm that could bring snow, ice or a change-over to all rain. 

Today we are dealing with a major winter storm that stretches from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes and luckily, we are on the “warmer” side … only seeing some rain, while our neighbors to the north — from New Jersey to Pennsylvania through New England — will have several inches of snow to take care of. 

This system will move east by early Wednesday morning and we will have the sunshine return, but it will be windy throughout the day.

Thursday — Valentine’s Day — will be a very quiet day with sunny skies and it will be mild with highs near 60.

And then the fun begins as we are looking at potentially five weather systems in six days to play havoc with our weather.

The first system will be a fairly weak weather system, which will come in on Friday, and that will bring us clouds with the risk of some rain showers. But it will be mild ahead of this system with highs in the lower to middle 60s.

As that system departs later Friday night, it will draw down colder air from the north and that will settle across Central Virginia by Saturday morning, just in time for system number two.

This second system will be fast moving and really have some limited moisture. However, it will bring some light rain for areas along and south of I-64; but for areas north of I-64, it may only be in the middle to upper 30s. Therefore, the rain will mix with some sleet and even wet snowflakes. This could present an issue on some roads late Saturday afternoon and evening, which is why we have labeled Saturday as a StormTracker 8 Weather Aware Day.

That system will move away Saturday evening and, on its heels, will be another fairly weak system for Sunday afternoon and evening. This will bring a round of very light showers for Sunday night into Monday.

I do think the second half of Monday will be drier, but the clouds will persist.

Finally, we look at our next major winter storm for Tuesday and Wednesday. Yes, it will be a winter storm, but does that mean we will get snow here in Central Virginia? That is the big question.  

Currently, our two main long-range weather models show snow or snow and ice or snow to ice to rain for Central Virginia. 

Why the uncertainty? Well, the system we are talking about is along the Aleutian Island, and will move toward the Gulf of Alaska, and then down into the Pacific Northwest and then cross the Rockies before coming into the Tennessee Valley and then finally toward the Mid-Atlantic. That is a lot of areas to cover before it gets into what we call a “data rich” zone, where we can really get a good look as to what is going on with the system and the specifics about it.  

So, it will be a few days before we can really nail down the forecast for Central Virginia.

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