So this storm system for Sunday February 19th was quite the tricky system, and we knew that from the beginning. If you look at our two previous blog posts you will see our original thoughts and questions we had on the system. This current blog will give you a little insight at what we went through and some of our thoughts on this evolving system over the weekend.
Between Friday and Saturday the big question was, how much snow will we see. Other national stations were putting out numbers close to a foot of snow. We issued numbers on Friday as well but ours were on the lower end. We were confident that the hardest hit area would be Augusta county, and anything north would not total anywhere near a foot of snow. The other issue was the tracking of the storm. There was such a tight snow gradient that if this storm shifted slightly to the south that would throw off the forecasted numbers a bit, meaning the northern Valley would see maybe a few flakes come down if any, and no accumulations.
On Friday afternoon we went 3"-5" for the Rockingham county area, with 4" to 6"+ for Augusta county, and a dusting to 2" for the Northern Valley. As Friday evening approached we were confident with those numbers however with the latest forecast model runs we decided to widen the gap to 3"-6" for the Rockingham county area and 4"-7"+ for the southern Valley. We widened the gap because we thought there would be that big of a difference between a small area, and there was!! It was all about location with this storm.
On Saturday as timing shifted from early afternoon onset, to mid to late afternoon onset that also allowed the snow to accumulate on the ground a bit faster, with temperatures as cold as they were for the day, and these are the totals that were reported to the National Weather Service.
With the exception of Stuarts Draft and Waynesboro receiving 10", the other areas reported snow totals well within what was expected. And as you can see what a tight gradient it was! Once the system shifted slightly to the south, well anything north of Rockingham county got shafted.
I don't want to discredit other Meteorologists around the country but with an area like the Shenandoah Valley with such difficult weather to forecast, it does make a difference if you get your forecast from a national site, or a local one. I believe I even saw one report that was forecasting 12"-16" at one point! We're pretty happy with our forecast seeing as how tricky this storm was being and how a matter of 15 miles could and did make a big difference on snowfall amounts.
Just as we said a few weeks ago, winter is not over yet! Although mother nature has a nice treat in store for us this week with temperatures in the 50's and even 60's.