After a relatively “warm” day, colder temperatures will move in Thursday afternoon and evening as an area of low pressure will track from the Tennesse River Valley into the Mid-Atlantic. A new low will form off the Virginia coast Thursday night into Friday morning with several hours of moderate to heavy snow and colder temperatures.
Snow will move in across Southwestern Virginia between 4:00 p.m. and 7 p.m. The “dark blue” represents very heavy snow rates over 1 inch an hour. Temperatures will crash from the 30s into the teens within a few hours. Any moisture on the roads will freeze on pavement and elevated surfaces. At least 3 inches of snow can be expected west of Interstate 77, with the likelihood of locally more than 6 inches in the higher elevations.
By midnight, moderate to heavy snow is expected across Northern and Central Virginia. There could be a 2 to 4 hour period of 1 inch per hour snowfall rates, impacting the same locations that saw several inches of wet snow on Monday (with thousands of customers still without power.) While the wind will not be a big factor this time, several inches of heavy snow could cling to weak branches and cause additional power outages.
Between 3:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m., the bulk of the precipitation will be along the Chesapeake Bay and across Delmarva with heavy snowfall rates continuing through at least 7:00 a.m. when the system finally pulls away towards the northeast.
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Computer models differ with the storm track which will determine where the heaviest snow accumulation will occur. There has been a slight northward tick in the latest model guidance with a sharp cut-off near US Route 360 (Danville to Farmville to Richmond to Tappahannock.) Most models show little to no snow southeast of this line.
VWP Snowfall Accumulation Forecast
This is a quick-hitting system and will enter Southwest Virginia between 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Thursday and exit the Delmarva coast by 7:00 a.m. Friday. However, there’s enough time north and west to produce several inches of snow, due to a 2 to 4-hour window of 1 inch per hour snowfall rates. There is the potential for “higher-end” snowfall forecast totals if those rates occur. Snow ratios will be near 10:1 and then slowly increase to 12:1, meaning the snow will not be as heavy, but some power outages are still possible due to weakened tree branches from Monday’s snowstorm.
For this reason, we added a few areas of 4 to 6 inches. The Central Shenandoah Valley and Piedmont will be in a prime spot for heavier snow rates due to dynamics and higher snow ratios. Another area to watch is near Fredericksburg and points east into Southern Maryland and portions of Delmarva. As the low moves off the coast, a period of heavy snow is likely, resulting in up to 1 inch per hour snow rates for at least a few hours. Roads, bridges, and overpasses will become very slick and snowcovered. Please use extra caution if traveling Friday morning!
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