July 21, 2017

Snow is coming: How much is debatable

One of the snowfalls that hit Floyd in 2016.  Will we see this again on Monday evening and into Tuesday?  Time will tell.

Less than two weeks ago, the Blacksburg office of The National Weather Service predicted a warmer than normal first two weeks of March with a long-range forecast of an apparent end to a winter that hasn’t been that bad.

That was then, this is now.  It was warm then. Now the prognosticators who are more often wrong than right issued a winter weather advisory, starting at 6 p.m. Monday and running through 2 p.m. Tuesday, calling for 2-4 inches of snow with possibilities of more in some areas and higher elevations.

Still, that is worse than the blizzards striking the Northeast.

The advisory (issued in all capital letters, which if normal for the weather folks):

… WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO 2 PM EDT TUESDAY… * LOCATIONS… FROM MONROE COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA, SOUTHEAST TO FLOYD COUNTY, VIRGINIA, NORTH INTO THE SOUTHERN SHENANDOAH VALLEY, INCLUDING ROANOKE AND BEDFORD. * HAZARD TYPES… SNOW, WITH SOME SLEET MIXED IN. * ACCUMULATIONS… SNOW ACCUMULATION OF 2 TO 4 INCHES, WITH LOCALLY HIGHER TOTALS POSSIBLE ALONG THE RIDGES. * TIMING… EARLY THIS EVENING UNTIL MIDDAY TUESDAY. * IMPACTS… SNOW COVERED ROADS WILL CREATE HAZARDOUS TRAVEL. HEAVIER SNOW COULD RESULT IN POWER OUTAGES. * WINDS… NORTH 5 TO 15 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 30 MPH. * TEMPERATURES… IN THE LOWER TO MID 30S. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW WILL CAUSE TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SNOW COVERED ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES… AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.

In around Floyd County, we can expect crowds in grocery stores by those who feel a need to stock up.  Expect a run on shovels and chemical treatments for driveways and the like.  With winds gusting up to 30 miles per hour, drifting is a strong possibility.

The NWS advisory adds:

… WINTER STORM EXPECTED LATE THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH TUESDAY NIGHT… .LOW PRESSURE WILL DEVELOP OFF THE SOUTHEAST COAST LATER TODAY AND DEEPEN AS IT MOVES NORTHEAST ALONG THE COAST OVERNIGHT INTO TUESDAY. BEHIND THIS SYSTEM UPSLOPE SNOW WILL PERSIST OVER THE WESTERN MOUNTAINS INTO TUESDAY NIGHT.

Roanoke Times weather guru Kevin Myatt, who is not a “meteorologist” but still often beats those who claim they are when it comes to predicting what actually happens, says:

Forecast remains something of a moving target with questions about the temperatures aloft, the exchange of energy from an inland low to a coastal low, and just how much precipitation will fall at what times. As I stated below, it is best now just to expect some level of wintry issues on roadways Tuesday morning, regardless of the exact accumulation or breakdown of precipitation types, with conditions improving during the day.

Myatt, thankfully, does not resort to all capital letters — which is considered “shouting” online.

Will it snow, starting at 6 Monday afternoon?

Probably.

Will it be a lot?

Probably not.

We will see.

Outlook map from the National Weather Service office in Blacksburg.

(Potential conflict of interest notice: The Roanoke Times is owned by BH Media, which also owned The Floyd Press. I am a contract reporter and photographer paid by BH Media. I also worked for The Roanoke Times from 1965-69)

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