[Image credit: Tropicaltidbits]
[Picture showing the purples and blues (cold air) preparing it's descent upon Southwest Virginia]
A warm, breezy, bloom-filled Thursday is certainly enough for the folks of Southwest Virginia to get a case of "Spring Fever". If that wasn't enough, the Dogwood trees are already beginning to give off their pollen scent as pollinators are currently in full force. This combination gives off the impression that Winter is finished, and that Spring is on the upswing going forward. March is a wild month though, and it just so happens that Old Man Winter has a couple of aces up his sleeve during the time frame of March 11th-March 15th.
It all starts with a small disturbance that will hit the area on Friday. There may be a sprinkle or two from the system, but that's not the big story. The big story is what lies behind this small system. A dam of cold air will leak into our neck of the woods beginning Friday evening. This won't be a small leak though as a large resevior of cold air, which is stored up north, will prolong the arctic chill. Southwest Virginia is likely be swallowed up by Winter-esque temperatures for at least the next week. This sets the stage for any moisture to have a chance at being the "frozen variety".
Speaking of frozen precipitation, it appears that the area will get it's crack at it on the outset of Saturday evening. A low pressure system out west will dive southeastward toward the Gulf of Mexico Friday into Saturday. From there it will race eastward, going through Georgia and exiting off of South Carolina. A plume of moisture on the northern part of the storm is what's going to affect our area. There are still some uncertainties pertaining to accumulation. It really all depends on where the storm goes relevant to South Carolina, and how big the moisture plume is.
If the low exits off of the southern portion of SC, then we may experience a lighter snowfall. If the storm goes through Central or Northern SC, then we can expect to have a higher accumulation total. We won't exactly know until Friday, when the atmosphere has been thoroughly sampled. All you need to know right now is that Southwest Virginia is in store for accumulating snowfall from Saturday evening into Sunday morning.
Total guesstimates for Saturday evening/Sunday morning (totals could go higher):
Lynchburg/Danville/Martinsville: 1 inch
Roanoke: 1-2 inches
Blacksburg/Christiansburg/Floyd/Radford: 2 inches
Wytheville: 2-3 inches
Marion/Abingdon/Bluefield/Appalachain spine: 3-5 inches.
Totals could essentially double if the storm takes a more nothern approach. We just have to wait and see.
To conclude, I will briefly go over the potential for a Tuesday Winter storm. Models are beginning to indicate that a possible coastal storm may affect Virginia and points northeast. There is still a lot of incertitude with this system. A large snow is a possible outcome, but not likely at this particular moment. Stay tuned regarding this weather-maker, as it could disrupt travel.
As always I will keep you updated. Enjoy the beautiful Thursday and prepare to bundle up for the next week.
Until next time!
-Robert Gillespy IV-