Time is ticking and while some of you already have Spring fever, Mother Nature is still biting at the bit for some last-minute winter weather. We might just get another chance during the first full week of March.
SNOW SO FAR
The past three years have seen below average snowfall. We're following that trend again this season. So far, Roanoke has only seen 9.3" of snow. A typical winter would bring 18.5" based on 30-year climate normals. We haven't seen "normal" snowfall since the 2009-2010 winter, when over 43"+ fell. I'm certain you remember that winter.
Several of the models, including the reliable EURO (ECMWF) Model are suggesting a potential, accumulating snow for March 5-6 (Tuesday/Wednesday). While it's still several days out, it's something to keep in the back of our minds.
We will have the cold air in place from Canada. Highs will be in the upper 30s/low 40s the first week of March. The big variable is, how close will any storms come to the region. The storm track should also be in the best position.
For those looking for a little late-season snow, next week might be our last chance.
Roanoke would need to get at least a 6.2" snow in March to reach seasonal "normals."
It's a stretch, but it could happen.
Southwest/Central Virginia has been known to get a few decent, late-season snowfalls. Typically, they come right after a warm day, then a strong front comes through and it snows. Everyone gets excited, school is out, but it all melts the next day.
The largest March snow for Roanoke came March 13, 1993 when 14.1" fell. That was one of two that totaled 16" for the month.
In 1960, 12"+ snow fell in Roanoke followed by 9.4" in 1969 (See several other March winter storms below).
Stay tuned for what might be an active first week of March. You know what they say, "In like a lion, out like a lamb." Either way, you'll need those heavy, winter jackets next week.
HISTORIC WINTER STORMS IN VIRGINIA
February 12 through March 10, 1960: Four storms in four weeks. The first storm hit February 12-15 dropping 6 inches to a foot all the way from Louisiana to Canada. There six fatalities attributed to the storm in Virginia. The second storm struck February 18-20 and dropped up to two feet in the western Virginia mountains. The third storm hit March 2-5 and dropped 4 to 20 inches in Virginia. Twelve deaths were attributed to the storm in Virginia. The fourth storm struck on March 8-10. Four to 15 inches fell across Virginia with drifts much higher. Many buildings collapsed from the accumulative weight of the snow and structural damage totaled into the millions.
March 5-9, 1962, The "Ash Wednesday Storm": The storm hit Virginia during "Spring Tide" (sun and moon phase to produce a higher than normal tide). The storm moved north off the coast past Virginia Beach and then reversed its course moving again to the south and bringing with it higher tides and higher waves which battered the coast for several days. The storm's center was 500 miles off the Virginia Capes when water reached nine feet at Norfolk and 7 feet on the coast. Huge waves toppled houses into the ocean and broke through Virginia Beach's concrete boardwalk and sea wall. Houses on the Bay side also saw extensive tidal flooding and wave damage. The beaches and shorefront had severe erosion. Locals felt the damage from this storm was worst in Virginia Beach than that of the 1933 Hurricane. The islands of Chincoteague and Assateague were completely underwater. When the water receded, hundreds of thousands of dead chickens were left and the Virginia Department of Health indicating it was an extreme health hazard asked all women, children and elderly to evacuate. A million dollars in damage was done to NASA's Wallops Island Launch facility and an estimated $4 million in wind and flood damages occurred to the City of Hampton. Winds up to 70 mph built 40-foot waves at sea.
March 13-14, 1993: The "Superstorm of March '93" was also known as "The Storm of the Century" for the eastern United States, due to its large area of impact, all the way from Florida and Alabama through New England. The storm was blamed for some 200 deaths and cost a couple billion dollars to repair damages and remove snow. In Florida, it produced a storm surge of 9 to 12 feet that killed 11 people (more deaths than storm surges Hurricanes Hugo and Andrew combined) and it spawned 11 tornadoes. In a large swath from Alabama to New England, it dropped over a foot of snow. As the storm's center crossed Virginia, weather stations recorded their lowest pressure ever.