Post-storm thoughts

Winter storm is long gone.  Looking back, some thoughts:

1. Warm nose of air aloft made huge northward reach Friday evening, changing most all areas south of Fredericksburg to rain or a mix.  Rain/snow line therefore ended up so far north that the “extreme” snow totals making national news headlines were confined to the far northern/northwestern parts of the state. 

2. Slush resulting from the snow-to-rain situation Friday, combined with the snow Saturday, made for “tricky” storm total counts.  For the most part, the slushy snow (around 2-4″) didn’t melt a lot despite the heavy rain, so overall snow totals by the time it was all over Saturday averaged close to 8″ metro area (higher in some locales).

3. Wraparound snow impressive Saturday, hanging tough most of the day eastern VA, with very little just 30-40 miles to the west of RIC.  Heavy snow for several hours Saturday ended abruptly by late afternoon all areas, as the coastal storm made a rapid move to the east.  Often lighter snow and flurries will linger longer behind such storms, but when this one was done with us, that was it.

* Jim Duncan

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23 Responses to Post-storm thoughts

  1. Raheem says:

    Racism. Racism.
    African-American people do not like snow, and this is being forced on the black community.
    Racism.

  2. Bob S. says:

    I find it interesting that not much has been said about the sudden increase in snowfall over Virginia this winter. The past 10 years has seen a relative lul in the amount of snowfall throughout Virginia only to see a huge increase in storms and especially snow producing storms this winter. I only remember 1980 as being as active as this winter and was young then. I know it’s an el-nino year and that does increase the amount of precip that heads our way but with all the supposed global warming going on you would think there would be less snow. Don’t get me wrong, I love the snow but I do have to work out in it. The “skipping record” weather pattern we’re in now just amazes me, I wonder how long it will keep on going.

  3. diegroundhogdie says:

    I should have read this thread first. I just posted pretty much the same thoughts about inaccuracies on a diff thread. I was caught off guard Sat bc 12 said 1-3″ even at noon, so I stayed at work longer and left my store open longer than I should have. by 4:00 there was 8″, and route 1 was a deathtrap. I barely made it home safely thanks to the lowballing of that storm forecast. NBC12- I PROMISE I would much rather have an over-estimation that turns out to be wrong, than an under-estimation that turns out to be wrong. not all of us are sitting at home on our laptops safe and snug in a storm- a lot of us are actually out at work (even on Saturdays!) and need the most accurate info possible so that we can make the best decisions for the day.

  4. Jeremy says:

    I wound up with the following snowfall measurements out of this storm:

    Friday – just under 4 inches of snow accumulation and 1/4 inch of sleet before the rain. My total snowfall for Friday was 5.5 inches based on 6 separate measurements on cleared off surface during the snowfall period.

    Saturday – 6.25 inches of snow accumulation and 6.25 total snowfall measured on cleared off surface during the snowfall period.

    Total accumulation for the two snow events was 10.25 inches with 11.75 total inches of snowfall.

    Location: I-64/I-295 between Innsbrook and Shortpump

  5. Sandyg says:

    No relation to any weather people. I just keep notes. Forecasts Wed. AM were as follows:
    Ch 6 – Fri. rain, Sat. change to snow.
    Ch 8 – Fri. light snow starts am, becoming heavy at times, lasting 3-5 hrs, then change to rain, Sat. change to snow, ending afternoon.
    You all know Ch 12’s forecast, Fri. snow & sleet, change to rain, Sat. change to snow, ending early.
    Wxrisk – Fri. snow for several hours 3-6″, change to sleet/frz rain, might end as snow or become “dry slotted”
    NWS – Fri. rain & snow mainly after 1 pm,
    fri. night rain, Sat. rain to snow
    Wx channel – Fri wintry mix, fri night rain/snow showers, sat rain to snow
    W. Underground – Fri snow mid morning, rain by 7 pm, Fri night rain, Sat snow by 7 AM and throughout the day

    Nobody got it “exactly” right but most were close. Only one called for all rain Friday. If you need exact totals and times that far ahead I suggest your consult your favorite crystal ball gazer.

    I depend on weather forecasts because our work is outside. I need to be able to schedule materials delivery and inspections and such. Most of the local people do an excellent job and I check them all. Then I mix them up and take an average of them. It almost always gives me the data I need a couple of days ahead. Anybody that looked at the forecasts on Wednesday and wasn’t preparing for significant bad weather, had their head in the sand.

  6. Chris says:

    the problem with these forecasts is that even while the event was unfolding, most of the tv stations were still saying very little accumulation. even though i saw between 6-8 inches.

  7. superbad says:

    About NBC12 being on the low side of actual totals. People remember when you are wrong much more than when you are right. With snow, people remember the guy screaming 2′ of snow when we get only 3 inches as opposed to the guy saying we are getting 4 inches when we get 8. In this area, people don’t see snow that frequently, so are naturally hyped when it’s on the way. Nothing is worse than getting LESS than predicted. Getting MORE is just gravy.

    So yeah, if I worked for them I’d be just as conservative.

  8. Snowman-Shortpump area says:

    My models stayed pretty true!

  9. Sandyg says:

    I kept track of 7 different weather forecast sites over the last few days before this past storm. The thing I find most remarkable is that on Wednesday morning 6 of the 7 were just about dead on with their predictions. These six said it would start as snow on Friday, change to some mix of rain/sleet/snow on Friday night, and end as snow on Saturday.

    All I can say to those who want a prediction that gives the hour and minute things change and the exact totals of rain/sleet/snow is that they need to grow up. The state of technology today hasn’t gotten there quite yet. The weather teams did an excellent job but they took a lot of heat for not being able to tell every west end snow lover exactly how much snow they were going to get.

    Kudos to Channel 12 weather team and all those out there who try to keep us informed so we won’t be caught totally off guard by extreme weather. They do a remarkable job. When the scientists make the “models” more accurate, the forecasts just might give you the inches and hours you’re looking for. Until then, be thankful you have the experts available to give fair warning several days in advance.

    • Elaine says:

      >>Until then, be thankful you have the experts available to give fair warning several days in advance.

      I am very thankful!! I was thinking about people before we had this technology and how these storms must have seemed like a big surprise to them. I think Channel 12 does a great job. I’m happy with *any* snow we receive!

    • Marc says:

      Sandyg, I don’t know what sites you were looking at, but all of the ones I followed called this event “primarily rain” until very late Thursday night/Friday morning…I am not looking for an exact amount, but if there is a hint of a severe event, we should know what the odds are so we can prepare accordingly and not be caught off guard. I think the lack of recent snow of this magnitude has made the local TV and Wakefield NWS branch very soft and apprehensive to call for a major event, but given the last three systems were all downplayed at first, it points to a need to reevaluate how these things are predicted. If all I had to go on was Ch. 12, I would have prepared for rain until Friday morning, by then it would have been too late…

      • Flakes-ShortPump says:

        As much as I love Channel 12, I’d have to agree with Marc. Most places were saying a mostly rain even with a stray chance of snow/sleet mixing in up until the VERY few hours before the storm.

        I don’t think Sandyg really knows what he/she is talking about. I do have to give a round of applause to WRIC because they were a little more ahead of NBC12 with their forecast.

        Sandyg needs to pay more attention…

    • Bob in chester says:

      Sandy seems to have her dates wrong.

      Wednesday Morning on the front page of the Richmond Times Dispatch had some NWS meterorologist say “primary rain”.

      TV 12 had all rain for friday
      TV 6 did.
      TV 8 did.

      The only guy who had the snow for Friday was wxrisk.com on WRVA. Sure he had too much
      snow early and he was wrong.. and he saud so.

      But sandy is totally incorrect about the wed forecast.

      • Sean says:

        I’m pretty sure it rained longer than it snowed on friday (snow 9am-4pm, 4 (sleet-snow mixed in early)-1:30 am). So would’t that make it primarily rain?

    • Dudley says:

      And a thanks to Jim Duncan’s wife for her input.

  10. Sirius...The Star Dog says:

    Noticed on the radar returns SAT…the pivot point of the mid-level deformation zone set-up over the eastern sections of town.

    No one can tell where that’s going to be until it’s observed.

    As an aside…crticism about not raising flags sooner or being out-forecast from out-of-sight forecasters ignores the fact that these outlets shoot frequently from the hip…are right sometimes…and suffer no consequences when they miss.

    Good snowfall forecasters exercise caution and don’t put down their markers until ~24 hours out b/c the state of numerical wx forecasting is such that the expected outcomes can and do change.

  11. Matt says:

    we could see a storm week of 2/15 models say at this time snow.

  12. Marc says:

    Sorry, Jim, the local weather forecasters have really not distinguished themselves this year with being able to properly forecast these storms until right at the start. I know this much snow is unprecedented recently, but I feel you guys still err on the side of caution too much and really do not raise the red flags (so to speak) until fairly late in the game. I know it is not an exact science, but many other sites (not local mind you) have been able to trump your forecasts and be more accurate many more days out of the event. How do you account for that much discrepancy within your forecasts this winter? Does your equipment need updating maybe (seriously, I think the models in and of themselves were very little help to you when it came to the meat and potatoes of your forecasts)? would love to hear your thoughts on this. I don’t mean to sound rude, or mad (I’m not) but there has been a heck of a lot more certainty with less than visible forecasters than the TV networks and the NWS (which is STILL probably predicting rain for last weekend!) Would love to know what you (honestly) think about this…thanks.

  13. Tristan says:

    Sounds like it was an impressive event that brought us about 8 inches of wintry precipitation. I hope we do get more!

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