Remember the February 3rd blog about all the different variables we have to take into consideration for this storm? Well, we were affected by two of them. That's why coastal storms are so hard to forecast.
First off, the main dry slot (there were several smaller ones) of the storm moved right over the central and southern Valley overnight, when our heaviest snowfall accumulation was expected. In Harrisonburg, we did average about 1" per hour snowfall rates from 11pm to 5am, but had the dry slot been further east over the Blue Ridge, many areas would have an additional 6"- 8" on the ground right now. The northern Valley seemed to escape much of the dry slot, with readings of 17"- 20" in Frederick County, VA, while Rockingham is sitting between 13"-14" at the 5am hour.
Second, we saw mixed precipitation in Augusta County. I mentioned in the February 3rd blog that this storm had much more warm air available than the one in December, and it showed. Many areas, especially in southern Augusta County reported snow mixing with or completely changing over to sleet. This will keep snowfall totals much lower in the southern Valley. Models handled the mixed precipitation poorly in this case, as well as the multiple dry slots.
The best dynamics of the storm seem to be east of the Blue Ridge this morning. Reports from the DC Metro Area and Baltimore include 3" per hour snowfall rates, frequent lightning, and thunder-snow.
There's another batch still to come to through the Valley this morning - I'll have another update early this afternoon.
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