Report from the north

I’ve been on a “snow” vacation this past week to the Adirondacks of New York… snowmobiling.   For those who miss the snow, I must tell you that there is absolutely no shortage of it up there.

Having done many winter-time  excursions up there over the years, and growing up in that part of the country, I can confidently report that this year ranks in the top percentile for snow and cold.  Winter is definitely in full gear to our north.

As for here, a wintry mix is likely Tuesday (27th), and maybe even a little snow, before a changeover to rain.

Posted by Jim Duncan


35 Responses to Report from the north

  1. AntC says:

    We’ve had sleet here in the West End since around 7:30 this morning..and yes; it did sound like sand hitting everything. It’s tapering off now, but still somewhat frozen…more mixed with rain though at this point.
    I agree that it’s a shame we’re not getting what NoVA and DC are getting right now…but hey, it’s Richmond…love it or please leave it…quietly 😉

    It does no good to complain about the lack of snow…that’s not going to change anything. So just enjoy the area for the beauty it holds besides what snow could provide. There’s plenty more about Richmond to be happy about, and you don’t need snow to enjoy and appreciate its beauty.

  2. Patricia Griffith says:

    Southerners do not know the difference between sleet and freezing rain. Basically the difference is freezing rain and frozen rain.

    Sleet comes down already frozen. It looks like tiny snowflakes. It hits the ground and other surfaces like trees and windows with a tiny ping, like sand falling. It accumulates on the ground like snow, but it is hard and rough and very heavy. One year here in Doswell, about 10 years ago, we had 12″ of sleet. You couldn’t get the snow shovel in it, and if you did, you couldn’t lift it because it was so heavy. That is sleet.

    Freezing rain is plain old rain that freezes when it hits the ground, trees, cars, etc. It is not frozen until it hits a freezing surface. It is rain coming down, and looks like water where it hits, but you will land on your back when you step on it. And you will land in the ditch if you drive on it.

    And snow is silent. There is a holy, reverent silence in falling snow. There is no sound of rain, and no sound of sleet or sand hitting the surface. It is beautiful.

    This morning we are having (in Doswell) sleet, snow, and rain mixed. There has been no freezing rain. But locals are calling it freezing rain. Even my 44 year old daughter who grew up in the north has become confused. Please educate these poorly informed locals.

    Patricia Griffith
    Doswell, VA

  3. Jeff says:

    Good post bobbr. I think people in Richmond know the dynamics about the difficulty of getting snow here but after almost a decade without a big storm it seems impossible even if it isn’t.

  4. Ryan says:

    On my way into work this morning on I-95 (8AM, in South Richmond), there was an impressive, but short lived sleet burst. It eventaully transitioned into rain the further south I got (near 288).

  5. Mike says:

    As always snow misses Richmond and Henrico by 5 miles on almost all sides…….perfect.

  6. SCS says:

    I’m new here! How are y’all? It’s 9a.m. in Winterpock and it’s RAINING! I knew when I opened the back door for the cat this morning at 5:30 that all we were gonna get was rain. In 10-15 years I’m gonna retire to somewhere with a practically 0% chance of “winter” precip!! I’m tired of being baited by the local weathermen/women. In my humble opinion, it’s not a measurable snow unless you can measure it in the center lane of I-95!

  7. Jim B says:

    2009 Jan 27 8:07 am. We are getting precipitation, first as rain and sleet, now as just plain rain, with a temperature just over freezing.

  8. Judy says:

    Hey! We are getting some huge snowflakes this morning and it has covered the ground so far here in Louisa County! It started out with heavy sleet at around 6:45 this morning. The big snowflakes look beautiful falling in the fields. 🙂

  9. bobby_r says:

    The total snowfall in Richmond was 8″ as reported by the NWS. The 8″ total was not from one snow storm…4.4″ of snow was recorded in Dec. 2005, 3.2″ of snow was recorded in Jan. 2006 and 0.9″ of snow was recorded in Feb. 2006. The total snow for the 2005-2006 snow season was 8.3″. The NWS snow season runs from July 1 through June 30. In 2000, when Richmond had the 15″+ almost all the snow was from the one 12″ snow storm. The snow from the 1700’s has nothing to do with normal. It’s just to point out, as per usual, how the weather oftem operates in extremes. People oftem say the weather isn’t normal… that’s very true. Rarely is the weather normal…the weather statistics point this out time after time after time. If anything, when you look at Richmond’s average high temperature of 45 degrees, which as of the 27th will rise to 46 degrees, it can be obviously seen, that when Richmond does get snow, the weather is abnormally cold..not average/normal. I challenge you to find any snow storm that occurred in Richmond Virginia when the temperature was at Richmond’s average high of 45 degrees. I’d love to see it…you won’t find it.. You may find it snowing at Richmond’s average low but not it’s average high. When it does snow, lets say 35 degrees ( which is 10 degrees below the normal high and it will be 11 degrees below average as of the 27th, there’s nothing normal about 35 degree temperature for Richmond, note I didn’t say it was unusual, its simply not normal for what is normal, there is not much of a accumulation other than on grassy areas. Bottome line, when it snows in Richmond it has to be out of the so called normal…no matter how you slice it, Richmond has to have well below normal temperatures for it to have a chance of snow and even then if the cold air is not thick enough it’s going to rain. Richmond’s frequent problem is warm air aloft over riding the cold air at the surface…nothing unusal with this either.

  10. AntC says:

    I remember the snowfall in January, 2000 here in Richmond where we got around 16-17″ in the West End. I have pictures of the snow drift on the back patio door that came up over 3 feet. Now that’s a storm that no weather people on TV really talked about too much, and the day before it happened all they were talking about was a “weak system” that might give us a little accumulation, if any. So, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that we’ll get a good snow storm again like january 24th, 2000…I just don’t think it’s going to be this year. I wouldn’t say it won’t ever happen again…EVER…that’s a pretty bold statement. This winter doesn’t look promising though…so like Jeff said; bring on the Spring temps and the great thunderstorms that come with it!

  11. Jeff says:

    No. When they call for rain, they’re always right.

  12. John says:

    If you guys dont trust these weathermen why do you trust them with rain? As far as I know it could snow all day tommorrow with a high of 32-37 degrees, Rain doesn’t have to happen at 37 degress it could be snow, do let your hopes go yet!

  13. dave says:

    This place is a joke. You can almost predict with 100% certainty that as the snow day gets closer, temps will be raised and it will veer towards rain. If i can predict this and see it happening every time, I sure wonder why the weather folks can’t. Maybe they just like torturing people. Yes, tomorrow’s storm which was predicted 3 days ago as snow is now nothing but rain, and Wed. which was originally supposed to be 34 is now going to be close to 60 degrees. Bobby_r, I’m sorry, but telling me that it snowed in the 1700s isn’t going to convince me that what we are seeing in Richmond is normal. And I don’t recall anything close to 8 inches of snow in 2006 unless someone stole a snow making machine from Wintergreen and placed it over in Sandston. You hear about people being depressed from living in snowy Minnesota or Maine and having these long winters. But at least they get snow. I find this much more depressing. It’s cloudy and freezing all the time, but it never snows because the moisture only brings warmth. What’s the point? And on top of that, you’ve got weather forecasters who consistently tell you it’s going to snow only to then tell you it’s not. Why even tell us in the first place? This is absurd. I wonder if we will ever see one of those big southern coastal storms again, but I doubt it. They are extinct.

  14. Jeff says:

    We feel your pain Kristen. I’ve given up. Bring on spring and the thunderstorms!

  15. Jolene says:

    Perhaps its all the pollution in Richmond pushing the nice clean snow away….

  16. Kristin T. says:

    I am beginning to think that cold air has an aversion to the Richmond metro area. Every time we get close to some snow, it’s as if some invisible hand pushes the cold air north, south, east or west of town. So we miss out completely and honestly I’m getting pretty sick of it.

  17. Sarah says:

    Now they are calling for a very BRIEF period of winter mix then quickly changing over to rain 😦 What a bummer, my son was hoping for at least a school delay of an hour or two.

  18. Jeff says:

    bobbyr, 2003, +15” ? That number has to be wrong.

  19. Mike says:

    Out here at Varina High School we just had a snow shower. No accumulation. It was nice. I haven’t gone to any snowy places in the last 4 years so it was the first time I had seen snow since then. Our Juniors have never had a snow day in high school.



    The West End is being POUNDED with white stuff even as I type! Alert master control – we need to break into programming IMMEDIATELY for ’round-the-clock coverage! Conditions are treacherous and are expected to worsen as the day progresses. Ukrop’s milk and bread suppliers are on standby. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR HOMES UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.

  21. AntC says:

    Well, I’ll be damned. There’s a mix of snow and sleet going on in the West End right now! Hey, there may be no accumulation obviously; but it’s good to see wintry precipitation today!

  22. bobby_r says:

    It’s been said by some that Richmond has not had any measurable snow in a decade. I hate to burst the bubble but if it’s only 0.1″ it’s measurable precipitation no matter what form. There’s no question that snow has been sparse at best for the past two years and not much better for other years, however, the yearly snowfall has been much greater than one may want to believe. This proves again that most people’s weather memories tend to be short or they believe what they want to believe ignoring the recorded data facts. Here are the snow facts for Richmond as recorded at RIC. Keep in mind that what is recorded at RIC may vary substantially for a different location just 20 miles to the south, east, west or north of RIC. (i.e.) Just north in Ashland and points north and west usually have more snow whereas points to the south, Petersburg, Hopewell, Prince George tend to have less. Here are the data facts on measurable snow reported by the NWS for Richmond Virginia: 1999, less than 4”; 2000, +15”; 2001, +6”; 2002, + 8”; 2003, +15”; 2004, 6.3”; 2005, 5.7”; 2006, 8.5”; 2007, 1.3”; 2008, 0.8”. The sparse 0.8” of snow in the winter of 2007, 2008 is not a yearly minimum snow record for Richmond. Richmond has recorded only a TRACE of snow several times in its recorded weather history, with the first being in 1918. It would not be surprising that if Richmond weather records went back farther than 1897 that there probably have been other years that there was only a trace of snow. There are some that think it’s unusual for it to snow in N.C. It’s true, that a good part of N.C., on average, has less snow than Richmond but there are some places in N.C. that have always received, on average, more snow than Richmond. The data is there and it speaks for itself. Here is another fact that has been overlooked by many. It could not hardly have been more than two years ago that the Newport News area (not Norfolk) had a 12”- 14” snowfall that Richmond hardly had a snow flurry and most areas of Richmond never had flake. Is this unusual? Absolutely not! In fact, in the last several years there have been a few 4” to 6”+ inch snowfalls in parts of Tidewater that Richmond got little to nothing. If I remember correctly, when Richmond had the 17” snow in 1983 Virginia Beach had 24” from the same snowstorm. The Virginia Climate Office says that there was a 40” snowfall in the Virginia Beach area in 1798.

  23. AntC says:

    Hey, don’t forget the Santa Maria!!! haha….I agree…the new Seattle sounds more like it. Overcast a lot during the winter, with rain and barely any snow or frozen precip. Yup, sounds about right.

  24. Jeff says:

    Richmond does have weird weather but the blogs from D.C. Philly and Baltimore are saying the same thing, “Where’s the snow?” Someone said that Richmond is the new Raleigh but to me it’s more like the new Seattle. Maybe it’s because of the whole el nino, el pinto or whatever that is.

  25. Jim says:

    Those who want snow will love this. We are getting sleet and snow in Chester! No regular reporting station (at least on Wunderground) reports any wintry precipitation, so this is something singular to Chester. One of these little radar blobs that Jim was referring to in his weather program apparently reached the ground.

  26. AntC says:

    Well, all good points about the accidents both vehicle and pedestrian. But hey, it would still be nice to actually see a coating of snow on the ground…so we can be sure it could still happen here; and not have to just see it on the news in other cities. Personally, I’ve given up now and really don’t care if it snows 1″ or 12″ now..or nothing at all. I’m just tired of seeing the forecasts that say “well, we could get a flurry tonight” only to see the radar tracking towards Richmond, then it suddenly turns south and heads away from us. I don’t want to hear “A possibility of a wintry mix” anymore; as we know that Richmond is just too difficult to call as far as snow, rain, or any type of storm. Sure, the jet stream could push a storm far enough South…”could” being the operative word…but let’s stop fooling ourselves; we have to get used to “won’t” being the operative word now…bring on the 70 and 80 degree temps…WE”RE READY FOR SPRING!!!!!

  27. Jim says:

    Apparently this blog is full of people that want to see snow come. I don’t. It causes a lot of problems. It snows up the streets and the plows don’t seem to come around until much later. It causes traffic problems. It forces you to shovel out the driveway; unfortunately, you can’t shovel out the street too. It cancels lots of events, and if you work, then every time one of these come you have to hope your workplace closes for the day; if it doesn’t, you risk car and limb going out in the stuff. Further, if it is freezing rain instead, that can really cause lots of accidents, including car and pedestrian, and it can even cause power outages with temperatures in the 20s. No I don’t want any winter precipitation and am glad they have all turned into rain or inconsequential flurries so far. Let the forecast for the rest of the year be 5-10 inches of snow every night at the ski resorts and absolutely no winter precipitation elsewhere.

  28. AntC says:

    I’m still seeing a call for a “wintry mix” on Tuesday, and NWS on the CB says a 60% chance for snow on Tuesday and Tuesday night in the Central VA area. Who knows? We’ll probably get shafted again and get neither snow or rain. Well, bring on the spring weather…I think we’re all ready for it and we’re ready to just abandon the idea of any Central VA snowstorms of any appreciable quantity for this year….maybe better luck next winter…but I doubt it.

    Glad you had fun up North Jim! I grew up in Pittsburgh and now what it’s like to have a lot of snow. I just wish we could all have the same amount of snow each winter here.

    Go STEELERS!!! (or “Stillers” if you’re from Pittsburgh ).

  29. jr. g says:

    sorry about the same comment twice. computer went crazy on the first one and erased it without posting it at least thats what it said before it froze. computers can be as unreliable as snow in our forecast.

  30. jr. g says:

    climate change absolutely. when the only snow that ive seen out here in the mountains was when i went to wv oh pa and ny two weeks ago, and that sucks when you have to take a vacation to see snow. this is the only area in the country that expects to see snow that hasnt seen much of any thing recently, and im not talking about just richmond im talking about 85% of the state. even non snow places such as new orleans houston hattiesburg augusta and charleston have seen snow. granted that and the carolina snow last week is more of a fluke but it still feels like nature is rubbing it in our faces alittle bit lol. this is no longer a anomaly its looking like a bona fide long term pattern shift with the storm track setting up to our north and west 98% of the time.

  31. jr. g says:

    climate change absolutely. only snow ive seen out here in the mountains was when i went to wv oh pa and ny two weeks ago and that sucks when the only snow you see is when you go on a vacation. any way this is the only area in the country that expects some snow that hasnt seen any at all this winter, and im not talking solely about richmond , im talking about 85 % of virginia as a whole.even non snow places like new orleans hattiesburg houston augusta charleston have seen snow. granted that and the carolinas snow last week was more of a fluke but its still feels like nature was rubbing it in our faces a little this is not looking like a anomaly anymore, its looking like a bona fide long term pattern shift with the more northern storm track becoming the norm.

  32. Judy says:

    I knew it, I knew it! Jim went off and cheated on us!! He found his own snow!! LOL. I can’t say that I blame him however, I am still not giving up on our area to see a little snow anyway. He could have at least shown us a “snow pic” lol.

  33. Jeff says:

    Dave, I hear you. I’m still looking for a graph that shows a 9 year stretch of NO measurable snow in Richmond. Climate change indeed.

  34. dave says:

    NWS is quickly changing Tuesday and Wednesday’s forecast towards rain. How does this happen EVERY TIME? Yesterday they were calling for a high of 29 on Tuesday. Now it’s 32. Mark my words, but tonight’s update, it will be upper 30s. I don’t understand why they even bother putting snow in the forecast if they know they are going to raise the temps. If I messed up this often at my job following a repeatable pattern of mistatkes no less, I wouldn’t be around to talk about it. I’ve never seen a harder place in the world to get snow. It’s like pulling teeth to get temps below 32, but if there’s no moisture, and can be cold as can be. And for long range outlook, the La Nina we weren’t supposed to have this year has resurfaced, and they are predicting an extended range of above normal temps. I’d rather them just not call for snow instead of call for it and pull it away. I hate it. Just glad I went to Colorado last year because that will probably be the only time I will have seen snow for a long time.

  35. Kristin T. says:

    Great, give us a taste of winter and then snatch it away. I hate this area, we never get any decent snow and if we do it melts away in rainfall within two hours. And sure, Jim rub it in with your escapades in the snow, LOL!!

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