National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


Brief Overview: A strong cold front passed through the area during the day on February 11th while an Arctic airmass was in place from southern Canada to the Plains and Midwest. During the evening of February 11th, ~1045 mb high pressure was analyzed over the western Canadian Prairies. This Arctic airmass was slowly pushing southward toward our area. Meanwhile, a broad upper trough was over the central CONUS, with southwesterly flow aloft present from the western Gulf coast to the Mid-Atlantic. This allowed for warm, moist air aloft to override the shallow cold airmass near the surface. Several disturbances in the flow aloft helped to provide the lift necessary for snow/ice across the region while weak surface lows tracked well to our south. This resulted in bands of moderate to heavy snow to stream across areas from the central VA Piedmont to the VA Eastern Shore during the evening of the 11th through the early morning on the 12th. 4 to 5 inches of snow was observed in a narrow area in these locations. Further south, a mix of snow/sleet/freezing rain was observed from late on the 11th through the morning of the 12th. Up to 0.20" of ice accretion was observed in areas in/near the south-central VA Piedmont. 1-2" of snow/sleet was observed across southern portions of the Richmond Metro. The active pattern continued, as another series of upper disturbances traversed the area during the day on the 13th. With much warmer air aloft, precipitation was either freezing rain or rain across the area. This resulted in an additional 0.25-0.40" (locally ~0.50") of ice across western portions of the area. Combined with the ice and snow that had fallen on the 11th-12th, this resulted in widespread power outages (worst impacts across central/south-central VA west of I-95). In multiple counties, over 90% of customers were without power. Outages lasted days, and are still ongoing in some locales. Combined with the icing observed on Feb 11-12, these were the worst icing impacts in parts of our area in over two decades.

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