February 3, 2010 - One Snow, Two Snow, Three Snow, More?!

By: Mallory Brooke
By: Mallory Brooke

Accumulating snow on Saturday, Tuesday, and now more for the weekend. Read about the components of this storm in today's blog!

You heard right – another round of snow is on the way to our area. The rumor mill sure has been buzzing about snowfall totals; so let me touch on that for a moment. I’ve received many emails and Facebook comments about snowfall amounts in excess of four feet – where are these rumors coming from?! I know the Farmer’s Almanac discloses snowfall amounts occasionally, but the storm that they predicted is between the dates of February 12th and February 15th. If someone could send proof of this 50”+ storm, I’d love to see it!

Now, back to the upcoming storm - well, the more realistic outlook of the upcoming storm. This storm has a lot of moisture and energy to it and it has the potential to become as big as the December storm. That being said, there is just under 48 hours before the storm hits. You know as well as I do how touchy these coastal systems are. Here are a few factors we are taking into account.

    Warm Air: There is more warm air available in the mid-levels than was present during the December storm. The likelihood of mixed precipitation is higher for this event but looks to be mainly a problem east of the Blue Ridge.
    Snow Ratios: With (relatively) warmer air in the region, snowfall ratios might be lower than the December blizzard. Therefore, for the same one inch of liquid, we may get 9 inches, instead of 12 inches. This all depends on the temperature of the atmosphere and the surface. More on snow ratios can be found in the February 2, 2010 blog.
    Dry Slot: With all of these major winter storms, there’s an area called the dry slot that forms as dry, cold air from the north gets wrapped up into the system. Precipitation quickly comes to an end in the dry slot. Predicting the exact location of the dry slot is as easy as predicting snowfall totals for a potentially huge storm. So easy.

Those are some of the issues that we’re taking into account while making this forecast. Coastal systems are the ones that bring big surprises and have the most impact. By Thursday morning, computer models should come into better agreement as the system develops further in Texas. Computer predicted snowfall amounts are very scattered at the time.

I’ll delve into a computer model discussion in Thursday’s blog. In addition, I’ll be speaking with Warning Coordination Meteorologist Christopher Strong from the National Weather Service in Sterling about this winter and how it ranks on the long term scale.

Oh by the way, did you catch the title? One snow, two snow, three snow, more.

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