By Chris White

Weather Blog: Since Fredericksburg resides "in the seam" between the Richmond VA and Washington DC media markets this blog is a look at the weather from a Fredericksburg-centric point of view.

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Tonight would be a good time to pay attention to the weather

The strong cold front that is approaching the Mid-Atlantic is the leading edge of another Arctic air outbreak.  As such it is slamming into the warm moist air ahead of it and creating severe weather havoc over much of the Eastern U.S.  The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) indicated that yesterday’s (Tuesday’s) activity included over 300 reports of wind damage and at least 4 tornadoes (more probably will be identified pending storm surveys).  For today’s severe weather here is the SPC’s forecast graphic for probabilities of wind damage:

Note that Fredericksburg lies within the 15% chance area for wind damage; on the graphics that I haven’t shown the ‘Burg also lies with the 5% risk area for hail and 2% risk of tornadoes.  (All these probabilities indicate the chances of that event occurring within 25 miles of any given point in that area.)  Per April or May standards these numbers wouldn’t raise many eyebrows but it is pretty incredible given that it’s the end of January.

The potentially dangerous part of this situation is that this front will slam through the ‘Burg later tonight.  Given the lack of available instability ahead of the front there may not be much – if any – lightning but the winds will roar and the rain will fall quickly and heavily.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see a severe thunderstorm and/or a flash flood watch posted for the area later today.  In all seriousness I strongly suggest that you keep an eye and ear to the broadcast media and/or the Web regarding current weather conditions tonight.  And if you go to bed before the front comes through (sometime around 10 to midnight) please have a weather radio operating that will provide up to date warnings as they are issued by the National Weather Service.

After a potentially chaotic overnight tomorrow will dawn under the influence of another Arctic air mass, less intense than the recent one but much colder and dryer than today.  Winds will gust to over 20 mph and temperatures will be about 30 degrees cooler than today’s high in the mid-70s.  The ‘Burg may even see some snow showers Thursday night into Friday morning as another “Alberta Clipper” (upper air disturbance) swings through.  The high temperature Friday may struggle to reach the 40 degree mark while the weekend should reach into the mid-40s, about normal for the beginning of February.  There may be another chance for snow showers Saturday night courtesy of yet another Clipper system but more on that later.   Meanwhile, stay safe tonight!