First Accumulating Snow Likely For Many
October 24, 2012 7:11 PM
Going into the last week of October, many aren’t really thinking snow yet. Most have just barely started to pull out the winter clothing and even more of us haven’t put away the summer clothes yet in hopes that we can squeeze out more 80-degree days. But in reality, the first snowflakes of the season typically fall in the latter half of October with the first accumulating snow sometime around Halloween. In fact, the second snowiest month of the year on average is actually November, at what’s considered the beginning of snow season. So often times many of us are unprepared for this first snow. Well, I doubt this year is any different. With Halloween still a week away I bet many of you have tried to put off the thought of snow as long as you can. Well, we can’t do that anymore. Snow will be flying across many areas Wednesday night and early Thursday with many locations set to pick up the first accumulation of the year.
I have been looking forward to this moment ever since summer started, but I know many don’t enjoy the snow as much as I do. So here is some silver lining…. The accumulating snow is expected to have a MINIMAL impact on travel because the ground isn’t frozen yet. This means that snow will NOT be accumulating on the roadways like it would in December. However, with temperatures falling very close to or just below freezing, there could be some small spots of ice and slush, especially on secondary roads. So this isn’t an ok to drive like you would in the middle of the summer. But it is a little bright spot to early season snowfall.
How much is expected?? Here is what two different forecast computer models are showing for snowfall accumulation across the Upper Midwest through Friday night.
This probably scared you didn’t it?? Well, don’t fret. Computer models don’t account for many factors in their forecast, like snow falling when temperatures are above freezing, rain mixing with snow (which hurts overall snow totals), and the lack of a frozen ground. Because of this, models typically overdo snow totals in both the beginning and end of the snow season because one or all of those factors are in play.
So from the sheer lack of really cold air (considering its October), the snow starting as rain and mixing with it, and an unfrozen ground, overall snow totals will be lighter then what you see here. Most locations can expected a slushy mix to end up on grassy surfaces, rooftops, cars, and other surfaces that can cool quickly. Looks like the most will fall in a band that sets up somewhere in the James River Valley or I-29 corridor that provides an inch or two of the slushy mixture, with locally 3 possible. So don’t fret yet, this will just be a little reminder of winter will be like before the heart of the season arrives.