An active weather pattern continues
Whew! And you thought the weather was going to settle down a bit after this weekend. Not so! Today – Monday – there is a chance of a few more showers before the precipitation is done. The good news is that the surface temperatures are rising above freezing, with Shannon Airport currently at 34 degrees while the thermometer at the Stafford Regional Airport has climbed to 33 on its way to the mid-40s. Thus the remnants of the ice, sleet, and snow mix that fell yesterday and last night will likely disappear this afternoon.
Meanwhile another system is approaching from the southwest that will complicate things tomorrow. An upper level shortwave trough will usher in more moisture that will result in another mixed bag of precipitation beginning near dawn. The temperature profile will be favorable for another round of mixed snow/sleet/rain for Fredericksburg but it wouldn’t take much of a variation to ensure that mainly flakes fall over the city. Here is a zoomed in section of the Weather Prediction Center’s probability graphic for at least 4 inches of snow tomorrow:
The blue contour represents a 10% chance of at least four inches of snow on Tuesday while the green contour (not very far northeast of the ‘Burg!) is a 40% chance of the same amount. Thus the boundary between accumulating white stuff and just another wet yucky day will be a close-run thing. Right now the NWS Sterling forecast only calls for a half-inch of accumulation but I’m thinking the city and its immediate suburbs could see 1-2 inches with the western and northern suburbs perhaps receiving up to 3 inches. (In the meteorological scheme of things that’s not very different but to snow lovers and haters that is a huge range!)
The remainder of the week will finally bring dryer weather and sunshine but daytime highs will be 8-10 degrees below average for the second week of December. The thermometer will only rise into the mid-30s to low 40s thru Friday. This pattern of deep-diving cold air intrusions followed by brief warmups will continue for the next ten days or so. Indications are that things could warm up a bit by Christmas week but that still remains to be seen.