Meteorologist Kristy Steward's First Warning Forecast
Good Thursday night! The ingredients for a winter storm are coming together. A low pressure system is starting to develop near the Bahamas. That will strengthen and ride just offshore along the east coast. This low will provide the moisture for this event. A cold front across the Great Lakes will travel southeast and bring us the cold air for this event. These two systems combine almost right over the top of Hampton Roads.
Tonight, clouds start increasing, but we remain dry. Overnight lows will be in the upper 20s.
We briefly get a little warmer in the mid 40s Friday afternoon. Most of the day Friday will be dry. We’ll start to see rain around 7 PM that will transition over to snow around 10 PM as temperatures drop into the upper 20s. Snow will come to an end Saturday morning.
There’s still some uncertainty with the snowfall total forecast, but we should get a much clearer picture over the next couple model runs since the low pressure system is now forming and that was our main question mark in this forecast. Regardless of the totals, the Eastern Shore will be hit the hardest. Our current thinking is 6-9” for the Eastern Shore. 2-5” for the Peninsulas, Southside, and the Albemarle Sound with the higher end falling closer to the coast. 1-2” inland and for much of the Outer Banks.
The other large impact we’ll see from this system is strong winds. North-northeast sustained winds of 20-30 MPH with gusts up to 45 MPH. This will create minor tidal flooding Saturday morning around 6 AM with 1-2 feet inundation. These strong winds could also knock down tree limbs and create power outages.
Behind the system is when we’ll get dangerously cold. Overnight lows Saturday night heading into Sunday morning will be in the mid-teens. That combined with weakening, yet still breezy winds will put our wind chill values in the single digits. Stay indoors if at all possible and take steps to protect your pipes from freezing.
Sunday we’ll begin on a gradual warming trend. Highs in the mid 30s Sunday warm to the low 40s Monday, upper 40s Tuesday, mid to upper 50s Wednesday, soaring to the mid 60s next Thursday. A slowly approaching cold front toward the end of next workweek will bring us scattered rain showers throughout the day Thursday.
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