Snow prospects this month UPDATE#2

Late in January I blogged about the prospects for some snow during the early part of February.  What we saw earlier this week didn’t amount to a “hill of beans”, as they say.  Medium-range computer guidance, the data that we use to predict the weather beyond the next 5 days, has frankly been a bust.

That being said, we now try to peer ahead to when our next opportunity for snow will be, as time will be running out soon.  And once again, I look at the computer guidance with a VERY skeptical eye.  It points to a wait of at least another 10-days from now until we may start to see improving chances.

A warmer pattern change should carry us from this weekend into a good chunk of next week.  The following week (President’s Day week) is when the tide could turn back to a much colder pattern with more southern storm trajectories possible. 

Posted by Jim Duncan

UPDATE posted 2/6:   I have increasing confidence that the last half of this month will be cold and could present a decent opportunity for snow.  Pieces may fall into place after the warm spell we’re now in finally breaks.  The week of President’s Day, and the following week as well, will bear close scrutiny.  Jim

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29 Responses to Snow prospects this month UPDATE#2

  1. DAC71 says:

    The 0zGGEM shows a potential snow maker for Richmond around the 15th. Don’t hold your breath; but this could be what Jim is referring to in his blog updates. I hope so, but like any Richmond area resident; I remain most skeptical about the outcome. I guess we’ll see what next weekend and into the week of the 15th holds for us. Maybe it will just be rain.

  2. jr .g says:

    t.storms is one thing we dont get much of out here near waynesboro. last year we got fully hit by a storm 3 times and the year before only 2 good storms. meanwhile just 8 miles over the mt into crozet/albemarle they get hammered. almost always all we get is the distant thunder amd maybe a sprinkle of rain. so combine that with the lack of consistent snow and you get the most boring weather place in the state. i have kept a daily record of prcip since i was a kid and in my 2 years near waynesboro we have barely cracked 30 inches per year the lowest in the state.over near crozet i would always have between 40 or 50 inches.

  3. Judy says:

    I do believe that we are going to get a pretty good snow this month. We aren’t “out of the woods” just yet.:) Soon thereafter though it will be time to think about getting a weather radio and be prepared for the spring storms this year. They do save lives for they will definitely wake you up in the middle of the night when needed!

  4. Kristin says:

    Well my granddaddy and many other farmers of my acquaintance used to say it has to get warm before it can snow. I’m hoping that farmer’s myth turns out to be true!

  5. Jeff says:

    One more cold spell before spring. Speaking of cold, check this out. Now THIS is cold.

  6. Jeff B says:

    This warm turn in the weather pattern basically resembles what is usually called the january thaw we even had a pattern reversal to 50s and 60s a few weeks after the blizzard of 96 its normal for even the coldest winters to have a pattern reversal and as of now it looks like the weather pattern for a good part of the rest of the winter will be cold again after a week of warm weather in fact this shift might actually help us settle into a cold and moist pattern next time which would mean lots of snow or ice as for climate change i know that its happening because co2 insulates the earth but there is also a complex web of factors that naturally drive the climate like an ice age is an example but there is a constant change in the shorter term climate patterns as well leading to short term warm periods and cold ones that may last 20-30 yrs so if we are in a warm period + global warming would make the data suggest that this is a rapid explosive problem but then when the natural pattern goes colder the warming would then be a lot slower and at the very least the total possible warming has an upper boundry once we burn up all the fossile fuels there will be no more manmade greenhouse gas emissions which will probably happen before the manmade warming gets so out of hand that it kills us all the main goal should be how we get the energy we need to power our everyday lives alternative energy is not just for the enviroment its for our survival at our current levels of technology in the future

  7. Judy says:

    The last time I walked 2 blocks I had to whop someone over the head with my purse! I now use the safety of my car. However, I do use the ugly light bulbs etc. I still want snow and lots of it.. just one more time before I leave this earth. BTW, when i leave this earth maybe I should request just to be dumped in the ground that way the earth could at least use my dust. I think its a great idea. In the meantime I will be watching for jim to say it is going to snow.

  8. dave says:

    Maybe some day these conservative people will realize that climate change isn’t some term that liberals ethrow around because they are hippies with nothing better to do. veryone can think what they want of it, but for me it feels very real based on my own observations. And the research and wide acknoweldgement of it has just confirmed that. I hope that these people that blow it off will wake up. It’s not about jumping on the bandwagon, it’s about the light bulb going on one day and realizing all of the things that we do that are just unnecessary. Does everything really need to be disposable or can it be used again? Do we really need to have those spotlights shining on our house for looks? Do we really need to drive two blocks when we can walk? We seem to not acknowledge things until it’s too late, until destructive consequences have already happened. Sound familiar – the economy. Why not look at environmental issues the same way, and try to do what you can to preserve the one earth we were given. Even if the end isn’t near, it’s still for the better good so there is nothing to lose. It’s not “save the planet”. It’s save us – the planet will still be here, it just might not be able to sustain life anymore until it regenerates itself way down the road. I hope we get at least one snow before winter is over…it will just help to make things seem somewhat normal again in a time when everything seems a mess.

  9. the real jake says:

    To the Jake impersonater that posted on 2/5 at 11:37 pm – sounds like you just described your life and used my name, because my life is actually quite the opposite of what you said. I’m very successful – you are pathetic. What I do know about climate change is the many official publications and scientific articles that I have read about it – the fact that countries around the world signed a treaty to fight it, but not the US. I don’t claim to be perfect, but I at least acknowledge the waste in our culture and try to cut out where I can. You on the other hand probably leave lights on on purpose, and drive a big SUV to make up for your other insecurities and obvious in adequacies. I guess you missed the numerous C02 graphs that have been widely distributed, indicating that a gas that traps heat below the atmosphere is spiking due to human activities. Read an article on NOAA.gov some time. This is an official national site affiliated with the National Weather Service – not propoganda like you would want to believe. I guess they made it all up, just like the ozone layer! Since you are so delusional, in denial, and lack hard facts, maybe you can go marry Sarah Palin. Two brainwashed, dimwitted losers make perfect company.

  10. DAC71 says:

    So what do the models need to look like for this “maybe upcoming storm” for us to really sit up and take notice? I’m referring to what has to be in place for it to be ideal as far as chances that Richmond gets any snow worth talking about. Seems that we’ve had quite a few models that forecasted Richmond would get a decent amount of snow, but each time it fizzled away and left us with either a trace, and more often nothing.

  11. Jake says:

    I was lying about climate change in my previous post. I use it as an excuse and try to make myself sound smarter than I really am. I like to blame everything on climate change (the weather, my impotence, my lack of personal and social skills…etc.) You name it, and climate change has screwed it all up. I really don’t know much about climate change in all actuality. I just jumped on the bandwagon with everyone else when they started talking about “going green”, and “save the planet”, etc. Truth is; I’m shallow enough not to give a damn, but I like to use it in forums where no one really knows who I am, and I proceed to talk down to everyone to seem superior to everyone else. Hell, I haven’t had a girlfriend in years, and I still live in my Mom’s basement…the climate down there is always a comfortable, yet humid, 78 degrees.

  12. jeff says:

    Elaine’s comment overwhelmed me…

  13. jake says:

    bobby_r, can you please be a little bit more brief? I really want to process your information, but I find it extremely overwhelming. And yes there are parts of NC that have always gotten more snow than Richmond – duh, the mountains, Boone, etc. That’s not what we are talking about. We are talking about Raleigh which has the same topigraphical make-up as Richmond but it’s 2.5 hours South. And for the last time, what we are saying is that even though Richmond has never consistently gotten a ton of snow and does have a narrow snow window, in all of recorded history there were never four years in a row with nothing but a trace of snow. I don’t care what happened at the airport – at my house in northern Chesterfield, I haven’t seen anything measurable (more than a dusting/inch) since 2005. Even in most years where Richmond doesn’t get big snows, there are at least a couple of 2-4 inch snowfalls in the three months that is Winter. This year has been impressively cold, but we go weeks at a time without any significant moisture – and that is why we can’t get snow. Temps are only 1/2 of the equation. Droughts and lack of precip is the other piece of climate change. I’m not saying climate change is causing this, but I do know that the climate has changed drastically since I was growing up. I grew up in Va Beach where we always thought Richmond got all the snow while we got rain. Now I look back, and then we got more in Va Beach by far than we get here now. And don’t tell me that we are at or above avg for yearly precip. We were below average up until we got multiple 10 inch rains from tropical systems, and that boosted our average up. Again, it’s all or nothing – extremes. And extremes are also part of climate change.

  14. DAC71 says:

    Every day I repeat to myself “it will snow the day after tomorrow” 😛 😉

    I’m interested in Jim’s update today though; about watching for a potential President’s Day storm or one soon thereafter…but again, counting on over 250 hours out is almost like counting on the US Mail to actually be efficient and consistent 😉

  15. james says:

    In a few words, I think what bobby_r is saying…if you don’t like the weather today, wait a day (or so)….

  16. bobby_r says:

    The excitement, so to speak, about all of these 200+ hour and 100+ hour GFS runs, other runs as well, don’t mean much more than squat around this neck of the woods. In the winter, the GFS and other runs, as far as I know, have never have been reliable in predicting long range snow forecast for RIC. For those of you who have been in RIC for at least 5+ years you may remember there was a recent winter that not one, not two, not three predicted snowstorms but it may have been four or more snowstorms predicted for RIC where the forecasters went out on the limb telling us how RIC should expect xxxx amount of snow from a given storm. Wrong! During that one winter every weather forecaster had egg and more on his or her face, NWS, channel 12, channel 8 and channel 6, Accu Weather, the Weather Channel, etc. You name the weather forecast outlet, they all blew every snow prediction for RIC during that particular winter. I don’t remember what year it was but I think, it was in the past 5 or 6 years. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but after that dismal year for the forecasters the forecasters have been a lot more cautious about going out on the limb in giving a snow forecast for this area. Can you blame them? I don’t. I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes catching all the flak and much more for a busted snow forecast. One can go back as far as they want into Richmond’s past snow storm history and I dare say that you will not likely find any major snow storm predicted more than one or two days, at the most, in advance. Many, many snows were not predicted no more than a day in advance and there are a lot RIC snows that the forecaster would often report after the fact, “It was a surprise snowstorm that was not expected.” “It came from nowhere.” “The low pressure that tracted south of VA and off the coast unexpectedly exploded.” (By the way, systems do sometimes unexpectedly explode into something not predicted.) I hope to go to the library, when I’m not traveling so much, to do some research in the RIC newspapers on what the weather forecast prediction was a day or two in advance of RIC’s major snow storms. If you remember, it was just the night before last there were travel advisories and accumulations of 1-3 inches of snow that was expected in southside of VA. What happened? Not hardly a snowflake fell in VA. Where was all the snow? In North Carolina. Unusual? Absolutely not. It does snow in NC. Although it depends on where in NC, they usually averages less than here, but in the last few years they have been out doing this area by a long shot. “Some say how can that be?” Other say, “The weather is wacky, something is wrong!” No, not at all. The sad thing for RIC this year, not like last year, is that RIC has had the cold air but the systems have tracked too far south or too far east. Cold air has been here but RIC has had rotten storm tracks for snow. We know, too, that there have been a few times that the track has been too far west, which brought in warm air and rain. It seems RIC can’t win for loosing. January 2008 the average daily temperature was over 3 degrees above average. January 2009, RIC daily temperature was 1.2 degrees below average.

    It stands to reason why snow lovers are depressed but it can be 70 one day and snow the next. A few days ago was a good example of how quick the weather can change. The temperature rose into the 60’s but by a little after midnight, in my neck of the woods, it was snowing and then a few hours after that it was snowing in RIC. Granted, it didn’t amount to squat in RIC and not much more than that where I live (1.4″) but it did snow. The point I’m trying to illustrate, as dismal as it may seem the weather can change in almost a heartbeat. In less than 24 hours the temperature drop was so fast that it became cold enough to snow, for however little. Granted, RIC chances of having a snow will begin to drop off very fast in the next few weeks but it’s still not over, at least until April. Unlike locations to our north that have a wide optimum snow window that is months long, November until the middle or end of March. In my opinion RIC’s optimum snow window is very narrow lasting only from January to the end of Feb at best.

  17. jeff says:

    The GFS is about as accurate and the magic 8 ball on my desk. The 8 ball syas, “Cannot fortell now.” Go figure.

  18. Liz says:

    Hey Jim! Thanks for the snow updates. I will keep reading your blog weather (ha ha) it snows or not.

  19. Elaine says:

    I’ve all but given up hope for snow also. Maybe we will get some good thunderstorms this spring!!

  20. Jim VB says:

    The 12Z run is out. It suggests rain again, with the storm passing to our north. But this storm will need to be watched.

  21. Ryan says:

    the GFS couldnt predict very accurately the 24 hour run the past few days….why would you believe a 252?

  22. DAC71 says:

    Although I’d like to get excited about a GFS run more than 250 hours out; there really is no need to get any hint of excitement going until at least within 100 hours. We’ve seen the last run bust somewhat…so it’s hard to really give any credible attention to a 252 hour GFS run. I hope I’m wrong, but like I said; I’ll wait to within 100 hours (around 48-60) before I start to get any hopes for a SECS or MECS.

  23. Jim VB says:

    Look at the 2009 February 5 06Z GFS run, for the 252nd hour, for 2009 February 15 18Z (i.e., 1 pm). Huge storm, going well to our south, with the earmarks of a southern storm, suggesting a foot of snow for our area. The previous 00Z run was considerably farther north, suggesting rain. This is 252 hours, or 10.5 days away but this is a hint that some sort of storm may occur.

  24. David H. says:

    I can’t wait for the freaking out when the spring storms come along!

  25. Ben says:

    Thanks, Jim- We appreciate all the information you give us!

  26. jeff says:

    Yep, this blog is a lot of fun. Hopefully, it’ll keep going for the spring thunderstorms.

  27. Janet says:

    I am enjoying reading this blog along with the comments that follow. It’s so nice to know that I am not alone in my love for winter and my hopes for snow. Keep the faith, you know what they say, if it can happen……..

  28. Frosty the No-Snow-Man says:

    Well…i’ve all but given up hope for snow this year once again….i’m dumb enough to keep thinking/hoping/praying for 1 decent snowfall, only to be let down time and time again by the weather here in Richmond!! I’d like to at least thank you J. Duncan for giving snowlovers a place where they can share their stories, frustrations, and hopes in regards to snowfall. I’m sure i’ll be watching the weather closely all the way through March, but with the week(plus) long warming trend heading our way, it’s hard to be optimistic about any significant winter weather heading our way the rest of this winter!

    I guess there’s always next year!

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