It looks like this storm will be a Fredericksburg Fizzle
CLOSINGS / LATE OPENINGS: Here’s the latest list of weather-related schedule changes.
That’s my unofficial name for it anyway. Yes there will be a significant March snowstorm in Virginia, just not for the ‘Burg. The bottom line is that the I-95 dividing line will strike again, i.e. our surface temperatures will be a bit too warm for significant accumulations in the city. Here’s the latest NWS Sterling snow accumulation map:
Note that – like the event earlier this month – the western portions of Stafford and Spotsylvania counties will see more snow accumulation than the eastern parts near I-95. However, that doesn’t mean Fredericksburg and the immediate vicinity will see no snow at all from this storm. It will snow (especially tonight), but surface temperatures will just be too warm to accumulate anywhere other than perhaps grassy surfaces. (If it were a couple of degrees colder I could foresee a multi-inch snowfall for the ‘Burg but that doesn’t seem very likely. It IS late March, after all.)
At the moment the air is too dry to support any precipitation with the dew point at the UMW weather station still very dry at 20 degrees. That will change as Sunday progresses, however, and the wind direction will switch around to the east ahead of the approaching system. This easterly wind will pump in relatively warm air off the Atlantic Ocean into our neck of the woods, which will both moisten the lower atmosphere and help keep our temperatures up with today’s high forecast to reach the lower 40s. It looks like rain will begin during mid-afternoon today and gradually mix with snow as evening takes over with somewhat cooler temperatures.
As this system continues to develop with the coastal low pressure system taking over from the storm over the Ohio valley (the “Miller B” scenario that Friday’s blogpost mentioned) the heaviest snowfall over Fredericksburg will occur between midnight and the breakfast hour on Monday. That could render the morning commute messy for a lot of folks, and with more snow accumulations forecast closer to the mountains the county school systems will have yet another tough call for Monday openings/closings. For the ‘Burg itself it does appear that by mid-morning the snow will begin to mix with rain again, likely changing to all rain by lunchtime with a high temperature Monday reaching into the upper 30s. (Remember, the average high temperature for this time of March is 60 degrees!!)
As the coastal storm moves away Monday evening and Tuesday the area will still experience rain and snow showers while the winds will pick up somewhat, gusting to the 20 mph range on Tuesday. After this complex mess clears out the rest of the week appears to hold sunny conditions albeit still below average temperatures. At the moment it looks like next Saturday we will see near normal temperatures and sunshine but the way things are going this spring I am not offering any odds on that bet yet!