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Does recent thunder, lightning mean a snowstorm in the next 7-10 days?

Snow-lovers continue to be disappointed; lack of significant snowstorms on the way

Does Thursday's lightning mean snow on the way?
Does Thursday's lightning mean snow on the way?

ROANOKE, Va. – I’ve heard varying renditions of an old wives’ tale that if you hear thunder in the winter, it means snow in either 7 or 10 days. Because we’ve had such a pitiful winter so far, I wanted to see if there were any other signals of significant wintry weather on the way.

Next few days

Whatever we see throughout the day Friday is really only significant to those above the 3,500 foot level in Grayson County or in the western halves of Greenbrier and Pocahontas Counties.

FutureTracker - Friday 8 p.m.
FutureTracker - Friday 8 p.m.

Another weak disturbance comes in late Saturday, but once again to the disappointment of most area snow-lovers. Any light accumulation will be in the mountains, with only the occasional flurry or snow shower spilling into parts of the New River Valley and Highlands.

FutureTracker - Saturday 11 p.m.
FutureTracker - Saturday 11 p.m.

Another storm system develops Monday into early Tuesday, but we’re on the warm side of things still. More rain is forecast during that time, but it won’t be as heavy as what we’ve seen recently.

What We're Tracking - Monday 02/10/2020
What We're Tracking - Monday 02/10/2020

7-10 days from now

Let’s look beyond the short-term, though, to see if this wives’ tale really comes to fruition. While the storm track stays active throughout the second week of February, I’m not convinced that there will be a lot of cold air around. Let me show you two graphics that should help explain why I’m thinking this way right now.

1. The graphic below shows the overall storm track. High pressure’s clockwise flow over the north/northeastern Pacific typically forces colder air and a more active storm track toward the eastern U.S. That meets a roadblock. That roadblock is high pressure off the coast of Florida. The clockwise flow around this high pressure sends warmer air into the eastern U.S. and essentially blocks the colder air to the north.

Upper Air Energy - 02/14/2020
Upper Air Energy - 02/14/2020

2. The second graphic shows the temperatures a few thousand feet above us, responding to what I just showed you above. You can see the bulk of cold air necessary for a good snow just avoiding us like the plague around Valentine’s Day.

Upper Air Temperatures - 02/14/2020
Upper Air Temperatures - 02/14/2020

These sorts of trends lead me to believe that we won’t see a significant snow within the next 7-10 days. There’s still the second half of February and all of March to go, but the immediate outlook doesn’t look good for those still wanting a good snow.

You’ll have to head to the mountains for that the next two days.


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