The Meteorologists here can claim victory on this storm. Not only did timing pan out extremely well, but totals were well within our range. Of course, there are those few areas who see a little more. The snow started pretty heavily by 9 p.m. Tuesday night, and continued right through Wednesday afternoon. Let's go over our system.
This large area of Low pressure that dove in from the Midwest, basically slowed and intensified as it moves of the Virginia cost. As Josh Knight said in the previous blog post, this is a "sweet spot" for Virginia heavy snow storms.
Note the position of the low.
As we sit to the northwest behind the low, that is the area that sees the coolest temperatures.
We also pick up on the moisture wrapping around the low as it spins counterclockwise.
Despite temperatures being in the mid to upper 40s Monday, once the precip started falling, the cooler temperatures aloft were transported to the surface and the air cooled quickly. If you saw an onset of rain or sleet first, that quickly turned to snow, heavy, wet snow.
Estimates of snowfall at 1"-1.5" an hour were happening overnight Monday into Tuesday for many areas.
|Elkton (2000' on Blue Ridge)||29"|
|Franklin (4 mi west)||24"|
Impressive snow totals, especially along the Blue Ridge.
Notice the difference between the town of Elkton, and up on the Blue Ridge.
The town sits at an elevation of about 1000'. Up another 1000' an additional 9" of snow fell.
The National Weather Service has a spotter that reported 24" of snow 4 miles west of Franklin.
However in the town of Franklin reported about 10" less.
The difference in elevation between Franklin and a few miles west of Franklin is anywhere from 600'-1000'.
The DC area didn't pan out so well. The "snowquester" storm for DC turned out to be what some are calling "noquester". The rain/snow line didn't pan out as they thought and what was supposed to be snow, ended up being all rain with just a little snow mixing in. A complete bust in DC. This just goes to show that again, mother nature wins. Temperatures with winter storms, especially a borderline storm always have potential to bust.
For our area, and such a big storm, this was very well forecasted. It has been 37 months since the Valley and entire area saw a snow storm like this one. This has not broken any records, the Blizzard of 1993 still holds the record for March snows. Also the record for 24 hour snowfall was in February of 2010.
While the snow is great for some businesses, it has caused many power outages and problems for others.
But the snow also puts plenty of moisture back in the ground, which is much needed.
In fact, snow cover is one of the best ways to replenish ground moisture.
So there are benefits to 12"+ of snow!
While in this week's forecast we have 60 degree weather, spring doesn't start for another 2 weeks.
Remember, the Valley has also seen some notable snow storms in April also.