Winter Storm Watch and snow total map

Winter Storm Watch and expected snow total maps

Fredericksburg looks to get its first substantial snowfall of 2019 this weekend.

As is typical for snow events, the buzz about this weekend’s storm has been bouncing around media / social media for several days. The fact that there’s snow in the forecast Saturday and Sunday shouldn’t come as a surprise. But, first there is today’s (Friday’s) weather to talk about.

After a chilly start in the teens and mid-20s today, temperatures will climb into the low 40s under sunny skies. A gusty northerly wind will make it seem cooler during the morning hours but those breezes will subside during the afternoon. Then clouds will fill in overnight as the complex storm system approaches the Fredericksburg vicinity.

This system will tap into the cold Canadian air that has streamed into the area, but the structure and timing of the various pieces will be stretched out rather than coalescing into a major storm system. After a cloudy and cool morning, light snow will spread across northern Virginia Saturday afternoon thanks to an upper level short wave that won’t have a lot moisture to work with. Accumulations tomorrow afternoon will be less than an inch in and around Fredericksburg.

Then Saturday night, a surface low pressure currently intensifying over western Texas will begin to make its presence felt in Fredericksburg with steadier snowfall developing. The graphic shows the extent of the Winter Storm Watch - left panel - at present. Note that Stafford county is currently not in this shaded area as snow totals there are expected to be below the Watch criteria of 4 inches. The right panel shows the National Weather Service's expected snow totals for the region with 4-6 inches expected in the Watch areas.

Most of Sunday’s snow will come during the morning hours, but there will still be a chance of snow showers through the evening hours. Temperatures both Saturday and Sunday will top out in the mid-30s so it won’t be bitterly cold during this event. Monday will turn sunny but chilly.

Confidence in these snow totals is reasonably good for most of the Fredericksburg vicinity. The Northern Neck and even Caroline county could well see some sleet mixing in with the snow as warmer air above the surface level intrudes. Any sleet that does fall would lower the overall snow accumulation in those areas but would contribute to the overall sloppiness factor.

Happy shoveling!

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