As you have most likely heard by now, snow is in the forecast. Over the span of the last week or so a lot of hype has been placed on this event, and it is beginning to look as if at least some of that hype was warranted. In order to give you an idea of what to expect, let’s breakdown what each of the major forecast models is saying and what that means for us over the coming days:
The NAM seems to want to bring in a bit more sleet and freezing rain into the picture than the GFS pictured below. This would limit the amount of snow that ultimately accumulates on the ground, and you can see that in the snowfall total map. The NAM spells out less of an event for the metropolitan areas such as Richmond and D.C. If you aren’t a fan of winter weather, this is likely the “best case” scenario even though most of the western half of the state would still see over a foot of snow if the NAM’s take on things plays out.
The GFS currently shows the storm taking a similar path to the NAM solution, but with less influence of freezing rain and sleet meaning that snow totals are higher here. The majority of the state sees at least a foot of snow with this solution. Richmond and especially D.C. would have major travel issues with this scenario. As crazy as it sounds, this solution lies somewhere between the “best case” scenario of the NAM and the “worst case” scenario that the European models are suggesting.
European products are not readily available to the general public, but we can get an idea of where this solution thinks the storm will track from the picture above. This solution has the southern-most track of all of the major model solutions, meaning probably the “worst case” scenario for Virginia as far as accumulating snow is concerned. If the European solution plays out, you can expect travel conditions across the state to come to a screeching halt for several days.
In all reality, some combination of the above solutions will likely play out. Everything is dependent upon the track of the storm, which we will continue to learn about as the storm approaches the East Coast. The most impressive thing is that there is consistency among the models and that leads to a fairly high confidence level. Right now it looks as if it would be very wise to prepare for at least double-digit snowfall accumulations regardless of where you live in the state, understanding that things could still change due to some uncertainty still a part of the forecast. As always, the National Weather Service and local media outlets are the best places to go for continuing updates on the storm. I will also do my best to keep you updated with the latest information here on theweatherzone as it becomes available. Please stay weather aware over the next several days, as staying on top of the situation is the best way to be prepared. Stay safe out there everyone!
*All images credited to tropicaltidbits.com