Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Weather columnist Kevin Myatt: March will begin unseasonably chilly

Kevin Myatt is The Roanoke Times' weather columnist.



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March will be coming in like a polar bear.

Windy, unseasonably cold weather will greet the start of meteorological spring on Friday, and through the weekend, as high pressure in eastern Canada traps a bubble of Arctic air over the southern and eastern United States.

Southwest Virginia will see lots of days ahead with lows in the 20s and highs in the 30s and 40s, the higher readings occurring when the sun is shining.

As northwest winds blow up and over the Appalachians, snow showers and squalls will develop in the mountains of West Virginia, where many inches will pile up with days of repeated snow showers.

As is typical, some of these snow squalls will cross into Virginia from time to time, with significant snow possible in higher elevations west of Interstate 77 and near the Virginia-West Virginia state line.

There may be periods of snow showers farther east, too, into the New River and Roanoke valleys, perhaps enough to briefly whiten the ground in some spots.

Snow chances may be enhanced somewhat over the weekend by a disturbance or two passing through.

Next week, about Tuesday or Wednesday, there is the possibility of a larger winter storm, as a new low pressure system forms over the southern Rockies or southern Plains and tracks eastward.

With Arctic air trapped in the eastern United States, moisture from the Gulf of Mexico flowing over and into the cold air may trigger widespread snow and/or ice. Details on this are unclear this far out, and will remain so for a few days.

The new low will be developing in response to the weather pattern changing into one that will likely dislodge the trapped cold late next week or early the following week.

The sun angle is getting higher, the days are getting longer, and the mean jet stream position will be lifting northward with time.

In short, spring is around the corner, and winter may not have many more punches left in it.

Time is running out for winter fans to get at least one more significant snow. But there may be a shot at it next week.

Weather Journal runs on Wednesdays.

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