Best bet-all snow, but how much? UPDATE

Update to below post:  Looking better for snow fans. Should be ready for preliminary call on snow totals by later Wednesday.

OK gang, time for a quick update on the coming storm.

It appears that we’ll be in for mainly snow, beginning later Friday, then continuing through much of Saturday. The temperatures aloft will be cratering, as will the surface temps, Friday night, and will fall even more later Saturday. So as I speculated previously here, precip type doesn’t appear to be the issue, but storm-track suppression does.

The connection between the polar jet stream and southern jet stream, critical for a runner up the coast, won’t be ideal. Assuming this, heaviest snow will fall south of central Virginia. We should still get our fair share around Richmond, but I’m a bit concerned that one of the more reliable computer models we look at keeps us on the northern fringe (lower totals).

Bottom-line, I’m not ready to go out on a limb with precise numbers on this one yet, since this scenario could affect snow amounts. The focus for heaviest totals will most likely be from southern Virginia south into northern North Carolina.  I’ll post another update Wednesday.

*Jim Duncan


126 Responses to Best bet-all snow, but how much? UPDATE

  1. Matthew says:


  2. Michael says:

    Im right with you Jim. Im saying 6-8inches since the track of the storm is south. Hopefully tomorrow night well be under a wsw so we will know the exact range.

  3. ryan says:

    how much for chesterfield va matt?

  4. ryan says:

    who really believes that we will get 22 to 24 inces on matthews pictures?

  5. Matthew says:


  6. Sean says:

    There is so much hype with this storm! 116 comments? Y’all need to chill.

  7. Matthew says:

    NAM-WRF 84 HR. OUT

  8. Shawn says:

    What model(s) did that data come from?

  9. Matthew says:

    MOST OF THE STATE SOON!!!! snow totals update

  10. Shawn says:

    I say about 7 inches in western Henrico. Areas further south will probably have closer to about 10 inches.

  11. WTVR8Weather says:

    6-8 in Richmond
    10-14 in Chesterfield
    12-14 in Western Henrico

  12. Chris says:

    will wait for the update at the 5 pm or 6pm newscast.

  13. quite frankly says:

    Hear me now and believe me later. 6-8″ of fluffy pow pow in Richmond, plus or minus 2″….heavier totals south and east however with more moisture content and perhaps a mix. I’d rather have the pow pow than a bunch of slop.

  14. Liz says:

    Jim, you are so funny! I think your fans are just very excited.

    I’m excited at the possibility of snow, but disappointed it won’t result in a spontaneous day off from work. ) : I guess you can’t have everything.

  15. Conway says:

    Most models are predicting snow here. GFS trended south but I still think low will exit somewhere off Norfolk coast. NAM has been pretty reliable this winter. GFS ssems to be doing its typical waffling. Right now northen snow line is right near Mason Dixon line. I would expect the 00z GFS to really have a better read in pinpointing the storm track.

  16. Reverend Rob says:

    I’ve got a cord of wood, a fridge full of barley/hopped goodness, and plenty of frozen grub… bring your worst. I’ll just sit back and drink my way through shoveling the driveway once more.

  17. Chris says:

    we need another posting cause having to scroll thru 100 messages is time consuming.

  18. Michael J says:

    I’m sure the computer models are going to jump around a bit for the next 2 days. At least it looks good for at least some snow for us. I doubt we see the insane amounts people are posting though. But that would be ok if it happened. 🙂

  19. Chris says:

    cool thanks jim, your blog seems to be updated more than any others i have visited.

  20. snowman says:

    My very reliable sources are saying 2-16″ of snow.

  21. nbc12weather says:

    Everyone needs to chill out a little on this. Following each model run every 6-12 hours when the storm is still 2 days away is a bit much. As far as totals go, I will have a preliminary estimate coming up.
    Jim D.

  22. RJT says:

    Hi Jim/Andrew,

    The latest GFS run (12z) looks horrid for us. Maybe a few inches at best. But the dramatic inconsistency from the last run to this one leads me to believe the GFS is behaving strangely and should be somewhat disregarded. If the European and Canadian models still say snow, then that would go along with the NAM 12z run (already says good snow for us), and I would view the GFS as an outlier.

    Would you agree with this assesment, or should snow fans be very worried since the GFS is so heavily relied upon?

    • John says:

      Don’t be melodramatic. It drops our predicted accum total a bit but it’s far from horrid. And it’s just one model run and we’re still more than 48 hours out from the event. Chill.

      • RJT says:


        Don’t twist my words around. I am not being melodramatic. The QPF is minimal for our area with the latest GFS run, and the storm is centered over 100 miles south than the last run. That is a huge change….I noted that the other models still look good for us and are rather consistent, so hence why I asked if we shouldn’t worry about it too much. I’m sure it’s all good, I just want to get their take on things.

  23. Matthew says:

    Follow Me ON Facebook for up to the second weather information on the storm.

  24. Mighty Dyckerson says:

    This will break all records in the history of records. Mark my words.

  25. Chris says:

    where can i find this discussion from the nws at?

  26. Maryann says:

    My eyes aren’t as good as they used to be… lol! Am I seeing 10-12″ over northern Sussex County?

  27. John says:

    NWS discussion is comparing this to the January 2000 and February 1996 storms. Wow.

  28. Chris says:

    when can we expect potential totals from the nbc12 weather team? also remember that the december storm was upped in terms of total snow fall right before it happened.

  29. ryan says:

    Hope that is right! we are right in the bullseye for well over a foot according to that run! Again lets see what the 12 boys and girls come out with later today.

  30. snowman says:

    14+ for west end then

  31. dreamsnow says:

    Could this weekend’s winter storm be bigger/weaker then currently forecasted. Im not talking about the track of the storm which would obviously affect snow totals. Im wondering if this forecasted storm could be more intense as at forms to our south.

  32. ryan says:

    i’m not picky even though 2ft would be awesome…..i’ll take whatever mother nature gives me! and it looks like something!

  33. snowman says:

    So here’s my question:
    How do we even know how big a storm is going to be? Dose’nt the size change constantly depending on conditions?

  34. Matthew says:

    vader1013 i will do another image for you!

  35. snowman says:

    Interesting when you look at this from before the big December 18th storm:

    (This was 2 days out, look how it says SOME SNOW))
    Well, maybe all of the collective vibes for snow are coming together, as the Saturday coastal storm looks destined to bring us some snow.

    The question of precip type may loom for a while during the early stages overnight Friday night, with the shorter-range computer model pointing to a possible rain/snow mix, then snow Saturday.

    Could be fun to watch.

    *by Jim Duncan

    Even a day out no one was sure it was going to be as big as it was in our area.

    • vader1013 says:

      why does it keep putting that annoying info band directly across the middle of the state? i can’t see richmond:(

      but- i thank you for posting updates, matthew! keep ’em coming.

  36. Chris O'Brien says:

    Jim wont go out on a limb…but I will… 6-12 inches in Richmond.

  37. Snowbaby says:

    Congtrats Nikki. Hope you’re going somewhere tropical for your honeymoon

  38. Nikki says:

    I am a TRUE snow fan and any other weekend, I would be pulling for a blizzard. But, I am getting married this weekend…so please “storm-track suppression” go south as much as possible. 🙂 Thank you!

    • Snowman says:

      Who gets married in January? Or better question, why get married in January?

      • vader1013 says:

        good point. i work in the wedding industry, and very, very few people in VA throw a big wedding in december, jan or feb- the weather here is too unpredictable. but, good luck Nikki- get your alternative plan in place NOW. each couple (admittedly, only four couples) who got married the weekend of the december storm had to either postpone or scale down their ceremony to immediate family, then they threw the reception the following week. but whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of only crossing your fingers and hoping!

      • Annie says:

        Two words: Shotgun wedding.

        I’m just kidding, Nikki. Congrats!

      • Nikki says:

        Thanks Annie and snowbaby for being a little more sympathetic! 🙂 I would not have chosen a winter wedding…but my fiancee surprised me with a honeymoon which is a trip to Mexico to see the butterfly migration…which is best in February. So we decided to go for it. While Richmond weather in unpredictable (all year long) we have not gotten hardly any snow in the past five years! So, usually, it is pretty safe.

    • PG Girl says:

      Nikki, I got married on Jan. 6, 1996, the day of the big snow storm (we got 18 inches in Prince George). We were married in Nags Head and it was actually snowing there before the wedding was over. We decided to come home that night and it took us 8 hours to get home. It really made for a memorable wedding and we laugh about it now every time a big snowstorm is predicted! So people do get married in the winter!

  39. rwk says:

    Aack! I live in Western Powhatan (read: boonies) and I’m EXTREMELY pregnant. Wondering if they’ll induce me ahead of the storm, or if we’ll spend Friday night at a hotel in town? Hmmm…

  40. Michael J says:

    Latest models, GFS, and Euro I believe have the storm 50 to 100 miles north of what they were saying at the previous run. I think earlier models are pushing the cold air too far south, and now they are correcting a bit. Still looks like southern Va gets the heaviest,but Richmond gets around a 3 quarters inch precip during that period. Even DC, Baltimore were back in decent action in the last model runs. Who knows what will happen, but im guessing anywhere between nothing and a foot. 🙂 haha

  41. Scott says:

    latest prediction from my CB27 says we will have 7 inches in Chesterfield, 6 in West End area- it’s never wrong.

  42. Jeff J says:

    I stand corrected. The Accuweather thing was old.

  43. Acedoc says:

    As we get closer, other computer models kick in- so wait until tomorrow night to get a much better idea. A coupe of models are tracking the storm further north than predicted earlier today, and that puts us back in the running for heavier snow. Jim will be on the mark, as usual, I’m sure.

  44. dave in cumberland says:

    actually the new gfs the 00z looks better for us than the previous runs. pushing the storm further north

  45. Snowbaby says:

    Channel 8 is still predicting alot of snow for Richmond

  46. Michael says:

    Well that just ruined my weekend….sigh…. Of course its going miss us, thats just virginias luck!

  47. Jeff J says:

    The new GFS has this looking like it’s going to miss us altogether.

  48. Sandy says:

    I agree with Jolene, we really don’t need any more precipitation of any kind for a few weeks. The ground is so saturated it’s hard to walk in a lot of areas without sinking in. Let it dry out some and then the snow birds can have a late February blast. Of course, I don’t know anybody that can do a darn thing about it but complain, one way or the other!

  49. Jolene says:

    Honestly, Richmond doesn’t need any more precipitation for a while. The river is already flooding over it’s banks. A foot of snow would not be good…Here’s hoping for a southern (way southern) track. Sorry.

  50. Stephanie says:

    Can the next snow storm be scheduled during the work week? Thanks! However, I do appreciate ANY snow we get. People who have the fancy expensive models keep us updated!

  51. Michael says:

    Guys, the low pressure that is going to be the storm has not even come on to land yet in California. BTW Matt, the computer models have been showing storms going too far south all year especially at the 3 to 4 day mark. It is likely the models will trend north again at the end. Yesterday the models said we were on the southern end of the storm, yet today they say the northern end. I think we see a few inches at least which will be nice without being destructive

  52. J says:

    I’m from Powhatan but I go to school in Western NC. looks like the artic air might provide us with a lot of snowwwwww

  53. Matthew says:

    As it looks at this time bad. i bet i check it again in 12 hr and we are in the middle of it again.

  54. Matt says:

    This is really bad unfortunately. GFS models have shifted the storm way south of us. Hopefully they will trend back north over the next couple days.

  55. Michael says:

    Has it changed in a good way or a bad way Matthew? As long as I get enough snow to sled i’ll be happy!

  56. Chuck says:

    The short pump area code is 23233

  57. Matthew says:

    model has changed in a big way i will need to look at the data over the next 24 hr.

  58. Jimmy says:

    Thanks! Too nice of ya

  59. Matthew says:

    ok jimmy give me less then ten mins to do this please.

  60. Jimmy says:

    Ooooo do mine please!


  61. Matthew says:

    Matt i will need your zip code please.

  62. Matthew says:

    Matt got to to download it and try it out. but you have to in some way ran windows i use a imac. After a one week free you must buy the software cost
    $200.00 – $ 2,000.00.

  63. Matthew says:

    what part of va are you in and then i can try to give your total.

  64. Joe says:

    On the facebook forecast thing how much snow does it say were going to get.

  65. Matthew says:

    Where are you getting this information from F5data weather tracking software that i paid for. New model run just a few mins ago.

  66. Joe says:

    Where are you getting this information from

  67. Joe says:

    This is the same as always. Everyone says its going to snow and then we get a flurrie. Its no ones fault but the computers.

  68. Annie says:

    John Bernier on Channel 8 just put Richmond right smack in the middle of “moderate to heavy snow” section. Nothing yet about accumulations, though, and of course things can change a lot between now and Friday afternoon.

    • kristinrosemoon says:

      Sorry but I don’t listen to Ch. 8 much, most of the time they are the last to catch up on the recent forecast information.

      • Annie says:

        LOL. Jim’s snow accum forecast on that Friday evening for the December 19-20 storm was 4-7 inches, and he only revised that upwards after several inches had accumulated and more was falling. John’s forecast was 8-14 inches. Who ended up being right? I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think Jim was a decent meteorologist but when it comes to snow and particularly accumulations, John tends to be more accurate.

    • Matt says:

      That doesn’t surprise me honestly. But remember anything can happen. We should all be conservative until a lot closer to the storm’s arrival. It will make us happier in the end

    • snowbird says:

      Actually Jim was right with 4-7″. The official total was around 6″ for the December storm. He did say higher amounts west.

      • John says:

        That’s arguing semantics. RIC is rarely an accurate reflection of what happens weather-wise in Richmond. I’ve long argued that it should cease being used as the official recording station because of that. When it came to reporting for Richmond and not just the airport Jim was wrong.

  69. Michael says:

    Accuweather is only saying a coating to an inch now. Twc still saying a good chance. I think it will work best just to wait and se. Whats going to happen when we wake up friday.

  70. Shawn says:

    At this point, you can only hope. Looking at the amounts might just get you excited. I hope they are right, but don’t be disappointed. I am hoping for more than a foot. LET IT SNOW!!!

  71. ryan says:

    You want predictions? wait until tomorrow morning or night news cast to see an early prediction from these guys. I just hope we get blasted!

  72. Joe says:

    How much snow??

  73. Snowbaby says:


  74. Acedoc says:

    Looks like the 18z NAM has the storm slowing a bit and perhaps trending a bit more north? So many models can’t even register a guess until 48-72 hours, though. Just gotta wait to see if the computers agree. Or, just wait until the storm comes.

    • Sean says:

      That’s what I saw out of it, it will be more accurate when the low moves on shore. Right now our system is still over the Pacific.

      • Matt says:

        I’m seeing an extreme southen track right now. I just hope to God the high pressure system won’t push the moisure too far south.

  75. Matt says:

    I agree with snowman that we could be the bullseye. With so much waffling to the north and south of us, we could end up getting a direct hit.

  76. snowman says:

    Still looks good for Richmond at this point. We could actually be the bullseye for this storm.

  77. Steve says:

    Are you changing the oil in your snowmobile?
    I am planning to head over Afton Mountain on Saturday morning for a family get together. I am hungry for updates but alas, I know it is only Tuesday.

  78. Tristan says:

    OH I hope we get “tons” of snow (more than 10 inches) would be nice again

  79. snowman says:

    And this is why it’s a complete waste of time trying to forecast a snow storm 5/6 days out. You just can’t do it. I don’t care how good the models are. Mother nature does what it wants to and when it wants to. (and always will no matter what new technology brings)

    • Emily says:

      Snowman, you’re exactly right. You absolutely cannot accurately predict weather this far out. I remember when I was in college (around 1999-2000), there was a 90% chance of a major storm and totals of 10 inches were forecast for Blacksburg. We got about 3 and Richmond got 18. Realistically, we could little winter weather from this storm at all depending on what Mother Nature decides to do.

      • Sean says:

        It’s an exception, not the rule. People bring this storm up every time. For central VA it was amazing, that night a dusting was forcasted. If I used this storm to base everything on, I would multiply every forecast by ten but that just isn’t the case. But seriously, stay a pessimist, you’ll never be let down.

      • Emily says:

        Sean, thank you for the condescension but one of the first lessons learned in meteorology classes is that weather cannot be accurately predicted more than 2 days out because there are too many variables. While the example used previously was extreme, it is an example of how predictions are just educated guesses based upon currently available information. When it comes to weather, that information can constantly change. An example of this are the changes in the blog posts concerning this specific storm. What started as a possible wintry mix turning to snow was then snow to sleet to snow. Now it’s all snow. Now we may be too far north to get the brunt. It changes. It’s weather.

        I am not pessimistic, I am realistic.

      • Sean says:

        I understand that, all I was trying to say is nothing is pointing to a Jan. 2000 storm outcome. Also, I came off as condescending because I am tired of people pointing that out every single time a storm rolls through. Of course the model will “waffle” that’s what it does best, delivering inconsistent results.

      • Outdors1 says:

        That was a great storm, the way I remember it, NO ONE said anything about snow except Jim, who said, “I see something here and I think we might get some snow from this, I know this is late but we might wake up tomorrow with a foot or more.” The other Richmond channels literally didn’t even say the word snow. I’ve always been a fan of his and that was a great catch on his part! I bet he will be the closest to the actual prediction. They should have a contest and measure variance from actual for temp and precip for the year, I bet Jim wins hands down!

    • Corklady says:

      I agree totally – just look out the window and there’s your weather. Inches or feet? Who’s to say? Just be prepared for the worst and you’ll fare the best. I have to chuckle at the gal who’s worried about what to wear to work – heels or sneakers?? What about when to hit Ukrops?

  80. Michael says:

    Well thats not good news. Im already out of school fridau since this week is exam week. So if it snows great, if not i can still relax.

  81. kristinrosemoon says:

    Ugh….here we go. Well maybe we will, maybe we won’t. I may just black out everything until Friday so I don’t get disappointed again!!

  82. Jpal says:

    Well shucks. Not the update I was hoping for.

  83. Sean says:

    Jim D., don’t you think this could just be a “waffle”? models were trending north and then this happened, EURO and NAM.

  84. scs says:

    Friendly reminder… be calling your refills in NOW, not 5 minutes before you get to the pharmacy! Thanks!!

  85. scs says:

    How soon before it’s nailded down a little more? Trying to decide what to wear to work Thu and Fri. If snow is likely, high heels are out of the question!! Will need to wear tennies because I’ll be on the run! Bring on the snow, I don’t mind being busy!

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