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Snow on Sunday? A look at what could come this weekend

(Photo: WSET)

The two biggest questions we are receiving from our viewers-- are we getting snow, and how much snow is falling where I live?

We use computer models to help us forecast the weather as you probably know. However, these models (which are a collection of data crunching supercomputers) have their limitations.

Computer forecasts often struggle with snow because there are more variables (freezing layer, temperature profile, ice crystal growth, small pockets of dry or saturated air, topography…) compared to rain or thunderstorms. Also, precipitation very early or very late in the winter season (such as March) is especially problematic.

Here are the “raw” forecasts of two popular computer models—you can see the huge discrepancy!

Model A shows not more than a dusting or light coating of snow.

Model B requires plows and shovels! Heavy snow is depicted, especially in the mountains and northern Virginia.

Neither of these are taking into account mixed precipitation or ground level temperatures.

So which is correct? We don’t know yet because the actual storm which would bring us the storm hasn’t developed yet.

I can tell you that snow is likely Sunday morning, but will it accumulate? Too early to know. Will the snow persist into Sunday afternoon or will the precipitation transition to rain? We don’t know yet.

Be wary of forecast snowfall amounts you see 4-7 days out—they aren’t consistently accurate.

We usually issue our first snowfall forecast within 72 hours (3 days of the event.)

By the way, if you are wanting heavy snow, you need to wish for the center of the low pressure area to pass about 150 to 200 miles to our south (passing between Greensboro and Charlotte)— the heaviest snow amounts fall on the north side of the low.

Updates to follow—stay tuned!

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