Saturday night snow? Outlook still hazy; get ready for colder temps this weekend

It’s the weekend, which means we’re worried about snow yet again. Here’s what to expect.

That’s the question I’ve been getting all afternoon: “is it going to snow tomorrow?”

The short answer is that it’s a definite “maybe.”

For the last several days, several of the models have been hinting that we would see a low develop off the coast over the course of Saturday, resulting in some limited snowfall for the southeastern part of Virginia Saturday night and early Sunday morning. The European model, that’s done well with several big storms over the last few months, hasn’t been on board with this solution as much as the other global models. There’s still some disagreement among those models, too, meaning that any forecast for Saturday night comes with less confidence than I’d like to have at this point in time before a potential snow event.

So, there’s your disclaimer.

How much snow are we going to get?

Well, if we’re going to just cut to the chase, we’re looking at between zero inches and one inch most likely, with roughly equal odds of either extreme, and a slightly higher chance of some number between the two.

The warm air that we have in place now will clear out beginning this evening and Saturday morning, so temperatures to support snow will be in place. The snow totals will depend on exactly how much moisture is in place, and where the more unstable parts of the system set up, which would lead to some bands of heavier snow. These will be dependent upon exactly where the low develops off the coast.

When is it going to start?

Rain is moving into far western Virginia this afternoon, and will slowly progress east over the next 18 hours. Look for rain to begin in the metro area after midnight tonight. It will change over to snow by mid-afternoon tomorrow, and then shut off pretty quickly Saturday night as the low moves off the coast.

Unfortunately with the start as rain, it’s going to be hard to pre-treat roads so things may get slick as things switch over tomorrow. If you’re out and about, be careful.

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Also, don’t forget that you can report weather from your computer or smartphone and help out researchers trying to improve forecasts. Visit the PING Project website or look for the mPING app in the Android and iOS app stores.

After the snow ends Saturday night, we’re looking at some chilly temperatures, with lows in the lower 20s Saturday and Sunday night. Things will warm up again by the time next week starts. More on that later.

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Weather Dan

Dan Goff is now a two-time former Richmonder, having departed the River City yet again in favor of southwest Virginia, where he is working on degrees in geography and meteorology at Virginia Tech. Have a question about the weather or weather-related phenomena?

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