Winter Weather Nuisance

For the Triangle, we will dodge another winter weather bullet.  Unfortunately for the snow geese, it is unlikely that Raleigh looks anything like this tomorrow…


While we will end up with a wintry mess for tomorrow morning’s commute, the impacts in the Triangle should be limited to some minor snow/sleet accumulations followed by minor ice accrual owing to warming aloft.  Surface temperatures should be able to rise just above freezing by mid-afternoon to bring the party to an end.

North and west, surface temps will hold under freezing for longer, allowing slightly more significant accumulations of both snow/sleet and freezing rain.  South and east there will be little to no accumulations of either.  The quicker the precip arrives, the more likely we are to achieve snow/sleet accumulations and a delayed onset would mean something like only a dusting.

Right now the best estimate for how this plays in Raleigh is for the steady light snow to begin between 3:30-4:30am (there could be flurries this evening, though).  The snow relatively quickly mixes with and changes to sleet toward daybreak.  Then, through the morning the sleet mixes with and changes to freezing rain until the temperature creeps up to freezing just after lunch.  Best guess for our accumulation is 1/2 to 1″ of snow/sleet with a 1/10th of an inch of ice accrual from the freezing rain.

So while tomorrow, especially in the morning, will be a winter potpourri, the accumulations should be relatively light and short-lived.  Temps will continue to rise overnight Monday into the 40s and rocket into the upper 50s with heavy rain on Tuesday.

What’s the forecast bust potential??

downside risk- the precip overnight and into tomorrow AM aligns itself along an axis farther north near the VA border, leaving Raleigh with only a couple hundredths of liquid equivalent from a couple of snow/sleet showers and a quick bout of freezing rain.  In this scenario…little to no sensible impact.

upside risk- 1) the steady precip arrives a bit ahead of schedule and is slightly stronger and more banded over the Triangle, 2) the cold air damming is more pronounce and more stubborn to erode than the models depict.  In these cases, 1) would give Raleigh the chance for up to 1.5″ of snow/sleet and 2) would extend the period of freezing rain so that the glaze could reach .15 of an inch.  Any way you look at it, even the upside risk is not a particularly significant storm.  Even if number like those were achieved, the warm air at all levels will eventually win out Monday evening and the Monday night and Tuesday’s heavy rain will was it all away.

I’ll be watching the latest trends and update this evening.  And remember, don’t freak out when you see a snow flurry this evening.  The real stuff won’t arrive until overnight.


Comments (2)

  1. 5:40 PM, February 14, 2016Jeff  / Reply

    Another great post! Thanks for all the super info!

  2. 8:15 PM, February 14, 2016Denise  / Reply

    Ditto Jeff — love the blog.

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