3/1 Storm Recap


Can’t help but do a recap on yesterday’s storm!

Make no bones about it, I busted big time! I did end up with 5.5 inches in Sterling and some areas did alright. Big snows occurred in the higher elevations, which was expected, especially southwestern Virginia. BUT, I was off by about 3 to 4 or even more inches in many areas.
Some thoughts:
1. I wish I had gone with my first guess map. It was somewhat closer to what was forecasted. 3-6” in the piedmont with 4-8” in the immediate piedmont would have been a better call.

2. There were a few interesting things: First, we had convective snow bands, though none produced thunder, there were indications this could occur with such a rapidly intensifying low pressure. The Severe Storms Prediction center noted the convective nature of the snow yesterday early afternoon and had a discussion about this. Also, I had a sense that we would have a regeneration of snow later in the day/evening after a lull. I will admit, it did much better than I thought it would, but helped me get closer to the range forecasted. Lastly, what a warm boundary/surface layer we had. Seriously, a month ago 3-4 more inches of snow would have been on the ground due to the long duration of the melting that occurred yesterday before true accumulations. If the storm had started during the overnight hours like the did in Southwestern Virginia, I strongly believe snow totals would have come in pretty close to forecasted! Spring storms always have the possibility of a large portion melting, and the last 2 storms really show just what a higher sun angle and warmer ground can do!

3. The storm itself was actually very interesting. There were things that just did not happen that meteorologically one would expect. The lower level jets, or channels of streaming winds, with moist ocean water, did not get going until later than what I thought! A very powerful low off of Cape Hatteras usually has this possibility. I think the lack of a strong cold high to the north made this slower and the low taking a wider run off the coast. Anyways, I expected (and as you see from the National Weather Services posting a heavy snow warning) that this would have happened!

4. Final note, adjusting the forecast. Honestly, I did want to adjust the totals down, but felt a final call was a final call. Best forecast would have been 3-6 for the Piedmont and 4-8 inch, Immediate Piedmont with some higher elevations approaching a foot. Could have accounted for possible thundersnows with isolated 8-10 inches. Of note, the forum is helpful for a running dialog during the day as it is easier for me to update.

So with the next storm I will take into account the sun angle and warmer boundary layers and hopefully get it right.

Forecast out in a bit, and yes, there are chances of more snow, which actually is starting to stink as Spring weather is starting to sound inviting!

All for now!