Snowmegeddon 2016: Are we about to have the snow event of the decade?

Snow 2016

NBC-29 graphic

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Have you heard? There’s big snow in the forecast for most of Virginia. If you haven’t heard, where have you been? It’s the talk everywhere. A run on grocery stores has left bare shelves and scarce supplies of bread and milk as folks prepare to be holed up for the weekend. Forecasters — The Weather Channel, WeatherNation, National Weather Service, Weather Underground, AccuWeather,  — are warning everyone to prepare.

One of the more well-known of a growing group of online meteorologists first gave the heads-up over a week ago. Richmond-based WxRisk’s Dave Tolleris — DT to legions of followers — doesn’t suffer weather fools easily. His desire as an independent meteorologist to give adequate warning about impending snow events has made him a maverick of sorts. If he sees the makings of a big snowstorm days or weeks out, he will give the heads-up of the possibility that it could develop. Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn’t.

He has caught heat for his busts, but his forecasting accuracy on some big storms has captured the public’s attention.

His big break came in 2000, as relayed in a Style Weekly interview several years ago:

Tolleris, 52, worked for the National Weather Service for six years, and then struck out on his own. In 2000 he nailed a heavy snowstorm that eluded local forecasters until the 11 p.m. news the night before. Tolleris had predicted it might happen days before. “That put me on the board,” he says.

Right now, his forecast for Virginia’s weekend weather is a doozy, and other forecasters have finally climbed on board. Are you ready for a possible “historic” snowstorm? Because that’s the word being attached to this event. Historic, unprecedented, huge amounts of the white stuff.

What is the forecast for most of Virginia on Friday? One to two feet. Yes … feet. And some forecasters are now suggesting that may be on the conservative side.

As of noon on Wednesday, the National Weather Service had issued a blizzard watch for DC, Baltimore, and Northern Virginia. Some TV meteorologists had upped their snow amounts making DT, never one to mince words, disgusted they had waited so long, and he said so on Facebook. The TV guys, in their defense, cannot have a sky-is-falling attitude about every possible storm that could scare millions of people.

A few years ago WxRisk’s Facebook followers numbered in the hundreds. Today it is approaching 154,000 as people look for an earlier warning system for the larger snow events that require preparation, especially those weather watchers who live in rural areas.

He came on my radar some years ago when a friend in Richmond suggested his forecasting ability was good at predicting snow. It wasn’t long before I was able to test DT’s  forecast in a storm in the Shenandoah Valley that most had predicted would bring only an inch or two of snow. DT was suggesting his data showed the numbers were closer to 6-8 inches, and sure enough, he was spot on in his forecast and we had 8 inches of snow. It made me a believer.

For weather, especially in winter, I keep an eye on the local forecasters and WxRisk. I like that DT gives alerts up to a week or two out that there is the possibility of inclement weather — not a forecast — but a heads-up of what could be coming down the pike. That is appreciated by those in outlying areas who haul in firewood for wood stoves, prepare animals and livestock, prep for possible power outages, and other outdoor chores that require more than a few hours’ notice.

So it you’re looking for a forecast that is not sugar-coated, tune in to on Facebook, or check out the website.

And if you’re wondering if this weekend’s weather thing is going to dissipate now that it’s 24 hours out, here’s a clue that the weather folks believe we’re in for it: the Weather Channel‘s long-time meteorologist Jim Cantore, known for planting himself in the heart of a storm whether it’s a blizzard or hurricane, has boots on the ground in D.C.

For some impressive snowstorm totals, check the NBC-29 map above or one from the other news outlets, or check DT’s maps. Charge your electronic devices. Finish errands. Prepare to be hunkered in during the storm.

And next week you can say you survived Snowmegeddon 2016.

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4 thoughts on “Snowmegeddon 2016: Are we about to have the snow event of the decade?

  1. Karen Duncan says:

    I am going to check DT out. Our local weather people completely miscalled even last night’s snow. It was only an inch or so, but was very icy, stranding a lot of night time commuters and even creating a miserable morning commute out in Burke, VA. Based on the TV and Washington Post Weather Gang forecasts, everybody was caught unprepared, no road treatment, etc. It was unconscionable that some minimum steps weren’t taken to reduce the impact on our commutes. This should have been an easy one. We were unprepared because the mainstream weather forecasters completely missed it.

  2. It was after an event like that when my friend suggested WxRisk.

  3. […] See also Snowmegeddon 2016: Are we about to have the snow event of the decade? […]

  4. Calvin Lucy says:

    The deepest snow I recall in Richmond was 1940 and we had 18 inches and the city had no snow clearing equipment. Even the trolley cars were stranded all over town. My future brother-in-law’s Dad was head teller at First & Merchants Bank at 9th & Main. He walked from Brook Road in Ginter Park to the bank and found no one there, and walked back home. Incredible !! The wind blew it in drifts around our house. At each corner, the ground was bare, and the snow was piled up at each corner away from the house to about 5 feet. It was a dry, powdery snow but nothing moved in the whole city for about 2 days. I was in bed with the flu so, naturally I couldn’t get out in it. Dad gave Sis his old wool WW I uniform to wear. She was 20 years old. It fit. The City bought snow removal equipment after that. YLSF

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