RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The rumblings of snow are in the forecast as a late weekend storm has Central Virginia in its crosshairs.
So the question becomes: what is going on and how is it going to play out?
We need to look at what is happening on Friday and then go forward. A weather system will move through Virginia on Friday and that will bring us some pretty good rain along and east of Interstate 95 for the late morning through evening hours. That system will slide off the coast but get hung up just offshore Saturday morning. As that happens, cool Canadian air will start to slide into Central Virginia from the northeast.
While Saturday will be a cloudy and cool day for us, we will be watching an upper-level low sliding into the Mississippi. This will start to lift moisture out of the Gulf of Mexico and rain will start to push across Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and then into Virginia by Saturday night.
By Sunday morning a well-developed storm will be centered near the South Carolina/North Carolina line. This will provide a cold rain for Central Virginia. As the storm continues to intensify, it will draw down cooler air from the upper atmosphere and start to create a rain/snow mix to the west during Sunday afternoon and evening.
This is a bit different than some of the setups that you might be used to where much colder air slides into central Virginia from the northeast or northwest. This particular setup is tricky because the cooling of the air will be directly related to the rate of rain falling. That is to say — the heavier the precipitation falls the more the air will cool and the better the chance for it to mix with snow.
As of now, the areas with the best chance to see any significant snow would be those in the Shenandoah Valley and Blue Ridge mountains. To the east of that, between I-81 and US Highway 15, including Prince Edward County, Farmville, Cumberland County, Buckingham County, Fluvanna County, Louisa County, and Goochland County (west of 522) have a good chance to see a mix of rain and snow.
As far as any accumulations, it is way too early to even think about that part of the forecast, as we need to truly see the amount of moisture and how much cold air might be drawn down. For those that get snow, no matter how much, the precipitation this weekend is going to be heavy wet snow, not the fluffy kind.
The rest of Central Virginia would be looking at a very cold rain with maybe some flakes mixing in as the storm pulls away. Over the next couple of days, our weather models will come more in line, and we will be able to refine the forecast and give you and a better sense of the timing and what you will receive, depending on the areas where you live.
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