January 25, 2011 - Biggest Snow For 2011 Season Thus Far

By: Mallory Brooke
By: Mallory Brooke

Most of the Shenandoah Valley is looking at their biggest snow for this season thus far - read all the specifics in today's blog!

First and foremost - let me apologize for the delay in my blog update. It's been a crazy morning here in the weather center. Before I increased my totals put on the morning show, I wanted to get all the information.

Finally around 10:30am, NWS in Sterling issued Winter Storm Watches for 5"+ of snow as we go through Wednesday. Temperatures are closing in on 50 degrees right now, and that has been my hesitation with going incredibly high on snowfall totals - even though the event is 24 hours away. To drop temperatures 15-20 degrees is going to be a hard thing to do over the next 12 hours without a decent cold air source.

While I'm not debating that snow will fall from lunch time through the evening commute - the precipitation that comes in from about Midnight Wednesday through lunch is going to be light and will likely be a mix of snow, sleet, and rain - of course that's temperature dependent. My feeling is that temperatures won't drop below freezing until after the heavy snow starts - probably around 2-3pm. At that point we'll start to see quick accumulation from this system.

Once again - heaviest accumulation = lunch time to evening commute.

As you probably noticed, I changed the forecast map from Daybreak the Noon show. I'm still skeptical of temperatures, but we have better agreement on the track of the upper level low pressure and better agreement on total liquid coming out of this (.50-.75", isolated amounts >1.00"). Ratios will not be fantastic, especially at the start of the heavy snowfall. I think the majority of the Valley will see less than 6" of snow out of this one, but there is going to be a very narrow band of snow that will deliver upwards of 7-8" to one or two localized areas.

Be advised that this is completely opposite of every other snow we have had in the Valley this winter - it's going to be a heavy, wet snow - therefore please take caution when beginning to shovel.

While precipitation will be out of here well before midnight Thursday, we will still have issues Thursday morning with commuters. A thin sheet of ice will likely form underneath all of the snow (from temperature changes) and will cause issues for kids and parents alike on Thursday morning.

Temperatures are going to be the KEY component to this forecast and we need to keep a close eye on them. Feel free to ask questions!

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