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The three systems are on the way

But until they get here today (Friday) will be a pretty decent February day, with highs around 50 degrees (F) and mostly sunny skies until mid-afternoon.  It’s tonight and Saturday we’ll have to deal with the three systems:  an arctic cold front, a surface low pressure system just off the Virginia coast, and an upper air disturbance approaching from the west.

The surface low pressure will form over the southeastern U.S. tonight and then intensify as it moves northeast to a point just off Virginia Beach Saturday morning.  This will spin some Atlantic moisture into our area just as the Arctic front approaches from the northwest with its payload of cold air.  Right now it appears the rain/snow line will waver across the ‘Burg a couple of times over the next 24-36 hours, creating uncertainty just like this past Wednesday’s situation.  My best guess (and it is just a guess) is that we will see a light dusting of a half-inch of snow early Saturday morning before it all changes back over to a light rain.

Then the third player (the upper air system) will approach late Saturday afternoon, helping to squeeze more moisture out of what is left behind as “wrap around moisture” by the departing surface storm.  The difference is that the cold and very windy Arctic air mass will be in place by then so there is a better chance for accumulating snow Saturday evening.  It won’t be much, but I’m going out on a limb and call for 1-2 inches of white stuff on the ground in Fredericksburg by dawn Sunday morning.  NWS Sterling is more cautious than that and they are the pros, but I’m thinking the wrap around effect for the ‘Burg is going to be significant.  We’ll see…

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