It's been a few weeks since we've had a system that has brought the potential for more than an inch of rain. We have to look all the way back to December 22, 2011 to find the last significant rain event here in Charlottesville. Now another such storm will be approaching central Virginia on Wednesday.
Here's the timeline. Rain will begin early Wednesday morning, starting out as a few sprinkles. As time goes on, the rain will pick up in intensity and become steadier. Rain will continue for most of the day and even into Wednesday night before tapering off. By the time the last raindrop falls, most rain gauges will have between one and two inches of rain! There may be a flood potential, depending on just how fast the rainfall rates turn out to be, but major problems aren't really expected.
This storm will be able to bring such copious amounts of rainfall because of its area of origin. Systems that form by the Gulf of Mexico are typically able to pick up lots of moisture. This moisture leads to systems that are able to squeeze out large amounts of rain. Typically, this is the time of year when Gulf systems can lead to snow storms for Virginia and the mid-Atlantic. This winter has been unusually warm, so as the moisture rides up the east coast, it never runs into any cold air that would be necessary for wintry precipitation. As a result, this will be another chilly, rainy day across central Virginia.
Speaking of wintry precipitation, there has been a real lack of it across Charlottesville so far this year. For our snow season (which begins on November 1), there has only been half of an inch of snow! That's roughly 10% of what would be considered average at this point in the season. Looking at the long range computer models, snow doesn't look very likely in the days to come!
Until next time...