Happy Monday and welcome to another edition of Beyond The Forecast!
We have some lingering impacts from our recent winter storm to contend with on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but (for the most part) the snow is done.
I want to give a quick shout-out to my colleagues at Your Local Weather Authority: Jeff Haniewich, Chris Michaels and Delaney Wearden. You all did a great job forecasting this winter storm!
Look at the map above and you’ll see that snowfall reports matched our forecast ranges very well! For example, Roanoke was in the 5-10″ zone and ended up with eight inches of the white stuff.
It was the most snow that fell in a single day in the Star City since December 2018!
You may have seen previous versions of the forecast that predicted higher snowfall totals. I want to take a minute to explain why the forecast changed.
We knew a storm was coming as early as Monday or Tuesday of last week, but the storm itself had not come on land yet. When the storm isn’t on land, we don’t have the ability to send weather balloons up into it to receive data.
The weather balloons make the forecast models’ jobs easier, and by proxy, our jobs easier.
Once we got the good weather data when the storm was on land, the models begin to show the sleet and freezing rain that we ended up getting. This caused us to bring our snowfall forecast down to what we ultimately decided on Saturday. I think it worked out pretty well!
Snow lovers may be in luck again later this week! We already have our eye on a potential storm for Friday and Saturday. Keep checking back with us for updates on whether snow returns or not.
If you’ve been outside today, you know the wind is whipping on the backside of the recent winter storm. Chris has a look at how strong the gusts will be, along with details about cold and mountain snow, in our daily forecast article.
You can always get specific forecast details for your zone, whether it’s the Roanoke Valley, Lynchburg, the New River Valley or elsewhere around Southwest and Central Virginia, anytime at WSLS.com/weather. Know your zone!
In case you missed it, we’re posting great weather and science content on WSLS.com. Here are a few links from the past week to check out:
-- Justin McKee