Friday, January 25, 2013

January 25, 2013: Limited Snow Potential This Afternoon

Snow has now broken out across the D.C. - Baltimore metro region.  This is associated with a northern piece of energy (a weak wave in the upper atmosphere) sliding through from the Ohio Valley.   A second piece of energy - a wave moving out of the Tennessee Valley - is sliding well to our south.   You can see these two regions of precipitation in the afternoon radar view below:

Regional radar depicting two regions of snow.  WeatherTAP
The heavier snow region is over north central N.C.

In between these two regions lies a "snow hole", and in fact a wedge of dry air in the middle atmosphere - called a dry slot - is working across central VA;  you can see this nicely in the water vapor satellite image below:

Dry slot shutting down snowfall across central VA.  WeatherTAP
The back edge of the snow affecting our area this afternoon should clear the metro region between 6-7 pm this evening.  Snow accumulations are being limited by many factors:  (1) some of the snow was consumed by saturating a dry air layer near the surface;  (2) the northern wave producing our snow is moving very quickly;  (3) the southern wave is "stealing" some of the moisture from the northern one;  and (4)  the dry slot will eventually overspread NOVA and central MD.

The high resolution models I discussed in my earlier post today suggest that the snow will be intermittent from 3-6 pm, coming in two distinct, light batches out of the WV panhandle.  Either way, they also show a sharp back edge clearing our region after 6 pm.

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