Snow Storm to Cloudy and Dry, all within 20 miles 1/17

Another system with a very tight snow gradient, but some areas saw some much needed moisture this week!


As per the previous blog on this storm, this was absolutely going to be a storm with a very tight gradient and a wide range of totals within a matter of 20 miles.

We said, any changes with this storm will majorly change totals. 

This storm, actually tracked more northward!  The problem was NOT the location of the precipitation, it was dry air preventing it from making it to the ground.

This is why areas north of Staunton saw nothing but clouds.

This is a look at a sounding. A sounding gives us a profile of the atmosphere for a specific location, or a view of what kind of air is above the ground in any one particular spot. It gives us a good idea of what is going on above the ground. It can be a bit confusing to look at. On the right, we had a northerly wind going up to about 10,000 feet. Even more interesting, above that, there is a strong southwesterly wind that brought in the moisture above 10,000'.

That northerly wind helped to dry the air closer to the ground. On the left, the dotted line is the dew point, and the red line is the temperature. At the top where those lines overlap is where precipitation is falling, I have it marked "moisture".  As those lines separate, that means no precip, and dry air has taken over.

The air never saturated enough close to the surface to see the snow make its way to the ground.

Rather than the falling precipitation continuing to lower and saturate the atmosphere completely, as it often does, dry northerly air continued to blow in and essentially ate away at the rain as it was trying to fall.

So the snow was absolutely there and it was falling. But it evaporated before it hit the ground. That's what we call "Virga".

Here are some snow totals from Thursday:


The snow made it into parts of Augusta county because the pocket of dry air was very shallow, and moisture was making it to the surface in some areas.

On a better note, we received a lot of much needed precip this week!

If any area needed it more, it was Augusta county too.

As of Thursday, this is the most recent drought monitor and it hasn't changed much over last week.

This does not include the majority of the rain we received earlier this week.

We still see drought conditions in the southern portions of the area, including a bit of Pendleton county. The yellow color is just where conditions are "dry".

Rain Totals (Mon/Tues)
Stuarts Draft 1.86"
Churchville 1.68"
Lost City 1.60"
Timberville 1.47"
Bridgewater 1.33"
Harrisonburg 1.01


These are some of the rainfall totals between Monday night and Tuesday.

Most areas saw close to or more than an inch, which was much needed rain! 

Enjoy Saturday... and then, get ready for a BIG cool down.

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