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Flooding Rains Possible Sun-Mon.

Written by Jamey Singleton. Posted in News

qpf acc.us maWe need to talk about the weather pattern going into next week. 

A powerful storm system will arrive from the south with lots of moisture and energy to work with. Temperatures will be plenty warm this week into the weekend, so there will be no snow. But the amount of rain that could fall Sunday into Monday is concerning.

This weekend's storm will follow more rain that will fall Thursday into Friday. So by Sunday, the ground will be saturated. The storm systems will be arriving every few days thanks to a powerhouse subtropical jet.

Computer models have been on to this heavy rain event for a few days now, and the confidence in the forecast is increasing. The amount of moisture in the atmosphere will be 500% of normal early Monday. That will allow for very heavy downpours and even embedded storms. Sever weather is also possible with this system, mainly to our south, but that possibility will be something to watch as well.

Rainfall of 3 to 6 inches is possible Sunday and Monday. If the amounts verify, flooding would be an issue for most of the area by Monday morning.

Follow the forecast closely this weekend, especially if you have to be on the road Monday morning for school or work. 

I'll have more updates this week.

 

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Never Count a Coastal Low Out

Written by Jamey Singleton. Posted in News

Historically, Many Coastal Storms Have Surprised Us at the Last Minute

 

UPDATE: I now expect a solid 3-6" of snow for Franklin County and SML Friday night into Saturday morning, ending around noon Saturday. Roanoke will see 2-5", with Martinsville and Danville getting 4-10". 

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First things first: there is still plenty of time for whatever forecast you are hearing to change before Saturday. Even as late as Friday night, the forecast may change. So keep an eye on it. That said, right now, I'm not going to be forecasting a huge winter storm for southwest and west centeral Virginia this weekend. It just isn't in the cards. At least right now. However, many areas do have a good shot at accumulating snow starting on Thursday and lasting on and off into Saturday.

The first system Thursday into early Friday will likely give the NRV and Highlands a solid coating of snow. Some areas could see 1-2" from Thursday afternoon into Friday morning. The Roanoke Valley, Lynchburg and Southside will see streaks of snow, hit or miss. Where the bands of snow set up, a coating of snow could make roads slick by the end of the day Thursday and for the morning communte Friday.

Then on Friday night into Saturday, what looks to be a fairly disorganized storm system will be moving from the gulf to the east coast. Models show this system moving very fast and not making any progress up the Virginia coast, instead moving more east off the coast of North Carolina during the day. Right now it looks like mainly light snow developing Friday night across the NRV, developing east into Southside by Saturday morning. A general 1-4" is expected, mainly south of Roanoke. The northern edge of the snow may still give Roanoke and Lynchburg a solid coating, however. The Highlands will probably miss the second event. Areas from Danville to South Boston may see closer to 3-4". 

Keep in mind, I'm not locking our these snow totals, however. Areas just to our south, from Charlotte to Raleigh, may see the most snow from the storm early Saturday. Raleigh may end up with 3-8". Keep in mind, a small tug to the NW, and our forecast will change quite a bit.

Just for kicks, let's travel back in time to Christmas Day, 2010.  Similar to this week, a mix of excitement and dread had been building as meteorologists watched a possible winter weather event developing near the east coast. Like this week, various models had all kinds of back and forth solutions, going from the chance of a strong winter storm to no snow at all. A low developing off the Carolina coast was forecast to travel too far offshore.

Then, just when everyone had all but given up on any snow, the Christmas eve models started to show a westward trend with the moisture. Still, the snow was forecast to be east of our area, from Richmond to Virginia Beach. 

Christmas Day, 2010, many woke up to a light, but steady snow. Accumulations ranged from 2-4" for many in our local area. Snow totals for the 2010 event are shown below.

A similar event surprised us in 2014 with surprise snow falling south of Lynchburg into Chatham, Southside, SW into the foothills of Franklin and Henry County. 

Why do models sometimes miss these coastal storms? 

One reason may be the natural temperature contrast that's created from land-sea interaction. While land cools quickly after a cold air outbreak, water takes much longer to cool. And don't forget, there's a warm gulf stream that sits right off the eastern seaboard. Storms like to form and then track where the temperatures contrast the most. Obviously not every storm rides the coast, but if the right conditions are nearby, the natural gradient can influence the path of the storm.

Models can also overlook something known as latent heat release over the ocean. As a storm system develops showers and even storms off the coast, the formation of clouds and rain (condensation) releases latent heat back into the atmosphere. The heat that's added to the environment off the coast further increases the temperature contrast near the coast, and can alter the path of the low.

Both of these factors CAN'T overcome the fact that the dynamics - the heart of the storm - will tend to keep both storms weaker and faster. But they can alter the storm's movement just a little. And in this case, a little movement will make all the difference in the world. 

So while a general light snow event is what appears most likely Thursday-Saturday, remember how quickly things have changed for us in the past. 

I'll be sure to update you if things change. Stay tuned!

 

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Franklin Co. Conducting Broadband Needs Survey

Written by Jamey Singleton. Posted in News

broadband3Franklin County has partnered with the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) to conduct a county-wide broadband needs assessment survey. The survey will collect information from citizens and businesses regarding Internet usage, current service, access, and needs. Information gathered from the survey will be used to create the county’s strategic broadband plan. Franklin County wants to ensure that citizens and businesses have the level of service they need today and are well prepared for the future.

The survey is the initial step in CIT’s Broadband Path, a six-step process that leverages CIT’s experience and Virginia’s Broadband Toolkit to develop a tailor-made strategic plan and seek out private sector partners that will help meet the County’s specific goals.

“It is important to understand how the citizens are leveraging the Internet and where there is a need for expanded or improved service so the County can take steps to meet those needs and ensure its citizens have the best possible quality of life,” said Sandie Terry, CIT’s Vice President of Broadband.

The survey, which is open for responses until February 28 th , is available online at FCBroadbandNeeds.org. For those with no access, or unreliable internet, paper surveys will be mailed throughout the county as well as distributed at various County buildings. If you would like to request a paper survey, call (540) 483-3030. Please complete only one survey per household.

“We seek to improve broadband access and reliability at the best value for Franklin County taxpayers” said Brent Robertson, County Administrator. “Your survey response marks our first step down the Broadband Path.”

If you have any questions or comments about the Broadband Needs Assessment, e-mail  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the word BROADBAND in the Subject Line.