A Friday snowfall and then a bit warmer
With this morning’s frigid low temperature of 7 degrees (F) at the UMW weather station any snow that falls today (Friday) will immediately stick. One mitigating factor for when it will start whitening the ground is the desert-like dryness of the surface air. Much of the initial radar returns will be virga, precipitation that is evaporating before it hits the ground. During this evaporation process the lower atmosphere will begin to gradually moisten to the point where the snow will finally reach the ground. The National Weather Service forecast graphic for totals shows 1-2 inches for Fredericksburg and the I-95 corridor:
The “fun” part is the timing…the bulk of this very light and fluffy snow will fall between 3:00 and 7:00 p.m., during the heart of the always busy Friday traffic rush. Oh, and just a note that it wouldn’t be out of the question for southern Maryland – and by extension part of the Northern Neck – to get more like 3-4 inches when this system begins to intensify as it nears the coast. (Of course if that intensification should begin a bit earlier the ‘Burg could see a bit more snow than what is currently forecast…but we’ll have to see how that develops later today.)
After all is said and done Saturday and Sunday will both be a bit calmer and even warmer than recent days, although I can’t quite bring myself to use the word “balmy” when forecast high temperatures will only reach the upper 30′s. However that description could apply to the middle of next week as the ‘Burg will see a warming trend that will hike the high temperature readings 8-10 degrees per day until Wednesday’s high reaches the low 60′s. Mind you, this will come via a southerly wind flow that will bring mostly cloudy conditions and some rain by mid-week ahead of the next cold front, but it will definitely be warmer than this week until then.
Following that cold frontal passage we will get another Arctic cold shot through next weekend, so the temperature rollercoaster will continue through the beginning of February. Who said winter was over?