January 10, 2011 - Sometimes The "Big" Storms Are Easier To Forecast

By: Mallory Brooke
By: Mallory Brooke

This storm may only drop an inch or two on the Valley - but it's more aggravating than both blizzards of last season! Read all about why in tonight's blog.

This storm system is one to watch unfold - there are so many components to it that it's making my head spin! But in a good way - sort of. You have the southern stream storm getting eaten away by dry air, the northern stream storm making its way slowly across the Midwest/Ohio Valley, and a phasing event that we're waiting for. Oh yea, and the monster coastal storm that will occur after phasing.

Sometimes it's just easier to know that you're going to get a ton of snow rather than playing with the idea of an inch or two. And sometimes the weather & computer models just cooperate more. Other times, like this system - not so much.

What has changed since the last blog:

Timing - It's been driving us crazy!
While it looks as though we could still have some isolated snow showers early Tuesday, any moderate snow that we receive looks to start around the evening rush hour (~4pm) and last until about 9pm. The systems as a whole have slowed down significantly over the past few hours and that has pushed our onset time back. The latest model runs show the systems phasing around 0z, or 7pm EST. This will definitely be something to watch as you will be able to see the energy transfer via radar.

Keep in mind that the actual forecast hasn't really changed for the area - we're still expecting less than 2 inches total (although Frederick/Clarke counties may receive an additional inch). Some areas may receive a dusting - it will be VERY hit or miss.

I'm not expecting schools to cancel or delay Tuesday because of this event (sorry kids & teachers) but if you're going to be out after 4pm, I would bring snow boots along. This may not even be a plowable snow in some areas, so please be aware of icing.

Wednesday may be a little slick as well. With temperatures stay at or just above freezing this week, constant melting and refreezing is possible.

Looking at the current NWS graphic (www.weather.gov) you can really see what I mean about the "black hole" of snow. There are warnings and advisories all around us, but unfortunately, we're not going to be getting much out of this one. It's the nature of this storm setup - we're in between the storms themselves and by the time they phase, they're north of us.

Did you know that Atlanta has more snow for the season than Harrisonburg? That just doesn't seem right!

Will update Tuesday morning - remember to ask questions/comment!

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