STARDATE 202201.14 1800est / 23z
Winter Storm Watches have been issued for the interior or the western half of Virginia, all of West Virginia, the western half of North Carolina, and western Maryland. The winter storm watches have also been extended into the western half of Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky, much of Tennessee, and the upstate northwest 3rd of South Carolina.
The various weather models have not shown a lot of BIG changes from Thursday night into Friday morning or midday. The overwhelming consensus of all the data continues to show that the LOW pressure that forms on Sunday in the eastern North Carolina area is going to track along the coast, just inland, and not off the coast. It is quite possible the actual surface LOW might track due South to North right up Interstate 95. This means that the LOW will pull in milder air after the snow begins, and the milder will play a big role in the precipitation types, the amount of icing, and the snow accumulations.
The heaviest snow will fall in western Maryland, all of the Shenandoah Valley, southwest Virginia, and the mountains of North Carolina. There may be some sleet mixed in the mountains of North Carolina but primarily this will be an all-snow event for these areas with the snow amounts ranging from 8 to 18 inches, depending on the location and amount of sleet that might mix in Sunday evening and early Monday morning.
In the areas east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, there will be significant sleet and freezing rain mixing in after several inches of snowfall Sunday morning and afternoon. The front edge of snow will reach as far east as Raleigh-Durham North Carolina, Richmond Virginia metro area, Fredericksburg and Washington DC on Sunday morning and midday. But the snow will not make it any further to the east. The winds will turn around to an easterly direction Sunday morning driving milder air inland so the entire event will be rain in the eastern third of North Carolina, the southeast third of Virginia, all of the Delmarva, and into New Jersey, New York City and southern New England.
In central Virgina Richmond Metro/ Freddysburg the short range models DELAY the start of the snow AND are faster with the warming. Thus, I have lowered the snow amounts in these areas. IF the precip starts earlier or the warming is delayed by say 3 hours then these areas could get 4 inches of snow before the change over
This image shows a fairly good representation of how we see the actual snowfall for this event.
But in addition to the snowfall the other concern is the increasing amounts of ice that the short-range models are producing in the Virginia Piedmont in central Maryland to the north and west of DC and Baltimore and in the of Northwest third of North Carolina just to the east of the mountains. The cold air coming southward on Saturday is quite dense and quite strong. The concern is that the various weather models are eroding the mild air at the surface in the interior portions of North Carolina, Virginia, and Central Maryland too quickly. No doubt that the mid and upper levels of the atmosphere will become too warm to support snow by Sunday evening but that is not the case at the surface where the winds may we made out of the North.
The winds will be quite high with the storm, especially in the Shenandoah Valley, West Virginia, southwest and western Maryland areas. Winds could gust up to 50 mph in many of these locations.
The western third of North Carolina which includes areas such as Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Hickory, and Asheville will stay all frozen. There will be significant snow in those areas that will change to ice but the precipitation will not go over to all rain in these areas.
For the interior and western portions of Virginia, the boundary is going to be Highway 15 which runs from Durham North Carolina to South Boston, and Clarksville, to Farmville, Zions Crossroad, Gordonsville, Culpepper, and Warrenton, to Leesburg Virginia. From WEST of that line, all the precipitation will stay frozen. There will be Moderate snow accumulations of 4 to 8 inches in the Virginia Piedmont, east of the Blue Ridge, and there will be SIGNIFICANT ice mixed in.
Southwest Virginia, WEST of the line from Lexington to Lynchburg to Danville, will see a major snowstorm out of this. There might be some ice near the North Carolina — Virginia border in southwest Virginia, but 90% of this event will be snow and the snow amounts will likely break a foot in most of these areas.
For areas in the Shenandoah Valley from Lexington to Winchester, this will be primarily a snow event and the snow accumulations will be HUGE, well over 12 inches in many areas, and some 16"+ amounts are possible. In central and western Maryland as well as the eastern West Virginia panhandle (Martinsburg and Charlestown), and the eastern half of West Virginia significant snow accumulations greater than 8 inches seem very likely.
Further north, the precipitation will begin as snow Sunday evening in Philly, central New Jersey, New York City and southwest coastal Connecticut, but it will quickly transition to all rain between10 pm Sunday and 2am Monday. The same transition will happen in eastern Connecticut, Rhode Island, and southeastern Massachusetts including Boston, before dawn on Monday.
By 10 am on Monday, January 17, the rain/snow line will push past Worcester Massachusetts, and into far northwest Connecticut. Central Massachusetts from I- 190 to I- 91 will see a transition of snow and sleet with significant accumulations. But it is doubtful that this area will transition to all rain; any rain that falls in that area will probably be freezing rain in central Massachusetts. West of Interstate 91 it will say all snow.
In interior southeastern New York and northern New Jersey, the snow line will push well inland on Monday, before dawn but several inches of snow are possible in northern interior New Jersey, and interior Southeastern New York before it changes over to rain or freezing rain.
Finally IF the mid level warming at say 300 to 6000 feet gets any stronger than a lot of this big snow in western NC southwest VA western VA western MD could be heavy sleet or freezing rain
- SATURDAY NIGHT rain and snow spreads into Tennessee and snow breaks out in western North Carolina
- BY SUNDAY 6–7AM it will be snowing heavily in western North Carolina, heavy sleet in central North Carolina, just reaching into the southwest Virginia
- BY SUNDAY 10AM the leading edge of the snow will have reached from Lexington to Farmville and Bluefield WV
- BY SUNDAY 1PM the snow will have reached central WVA, Harrisonburg to just south of Fredericksburg
- BY SUNDAY 4PM the snow will have reached a line from Altoona to Baltimore
- BY SUNDAY 7PM the snow line will have reached Philly into central Pennsylvania