February 5-6, 2010 Winter Storm Summary

The third significant winter storm of the season impacted much of the Blacksburg National Weather Service forecast area on February 5th and 6th, coming just one week after our second major snowstorm. While parts of southwest and south-central Virginia, as well as northwest North Carolina and southeast West Virginia experienced significant snowfall, this was only part of a much larger storm that brought record snowfall to parts of northern Virginia and Maryland.

The following brief summary shows the evolution of the storm, plus an analysis and listing of the snow/sleet totals, and an update to the seasonal snowfall totals for our primary climate stations.

 

Meteorology Overview

As shown in the animation below, the storm first developed along the Texas Gulf Coast and pushed northeastward into a cold and dry high pressure airmass centered over the northeast United States. As precipitation spread out ahead of the main surface low pressure center, the structure of the surface system became more complex, with a weak low pressure center splitting off into Tennessee, and another one tracking across Georgia and the Carolinas. This usually signifies warm air moving in aloft with the precipitation, which can often change snow to sleet or freezing rain. In addition to the challenge of how much overall precipitation would occur (or "liquid equivalent"), forecasters also had to predict just how much would fall as snow vs. sleet vs. freezing rain, or even just cold rain, at any location across the 40 county forecast area. Eventually, the low pressure near the coast strengthened and took over as it moved up the coast and continued to bring heavy precipitation (mainly snow) to much of the Mid-Atlantic Coast. The heavy snow and strong winds that developed as the low pressure area strengthened actually resulted in blizzard conditions from parts of northern Virginia through portions of New Jersey.

The pattern of low pressure system development that evolved with this storm as seen in the animation below is known as "Miller B" cyclogenesis, and most often brings our area the complicated mix of various wintry precipitation types. (Click here for more information about "Miller B" storms, as well as other categories.) In this case, that is exactly what happened, with primarily snow across the far north, and mix of snow and sleet across central parts of the area, with snow, sleet, and freezing rain across the far south (including northwest North Carolina), and a few areas changed to rain in far southwest Virginia and parts of north-central North Carolina.

Surface Frontal Loop of Feb 5th-6th, 2010

Animation of surface pressure analysis and radar composites through the period the storm impacted the Carolinas and Virginia.

 

Winter Storm Watches were issued for the entire Blacksburg NWS forecast area Wednesday afternoon Feb 3, and these were upgraded to warnings for most of the area early Thursday morning Feb 4th (the warning was expanded to include the entire area by Thursday afternoon). Snow began late Thursday evening across the far southwest and early Friday morning across the northeast.

Accumulations of heavy wet snow, sleet, and in some locations ice accretions from freezing rain, resulted in power outages in a number of locations, as well as numerous accidents. Gusty southeast winds contributed to power outage problems as well. The winds were strongest along the ridge tops, and especially in far southwest Virginia and southeast West Virginia (Tazewell and Bluefield areas) where there was significant damage to trees, power lines, and some structures as well.

The image below shows the final snow/sleet totals from this event across the 40-county region covered by the Blacksburg/Roanoke NWS. While we have not produced an analysis of the ice accretion from freezing rain, there were some locations in the North Carolina mountains that picked up a tenth to a quarter of an inch of ice accretion, and some isolated spots in the highest elevations that had close to a half an inch. Some light ice accretions also occured along the Blue Ridge and foothill regions of southwest Virginia.

 

Total Snowfall map

Storm total snowfall analysis map for February 5-6, 2010.

 

Summary of snow totals for the season compared to the 30-year average

The following table shows the totals from this storm at our five primary climate stations in our region, along with running seasonal totals (as of Feb 8) in comparison with 30-year averages and the records.

 

Station Feb 5-6, 2010 Snow Total 2009-10 Season Total
(as of Feb 8)

30-year Average
(1971-2000)

Record Seasonal Snowfall (year)
Blacksburg 9.9" 45.2" 23.2" 75.4" (1995-96)
Roanoke 9.4" 39.1" 23.0" 62.7" (1959-60)
Lynchburg 7.0" 31.9" 17.7" 56.8" (1995-96)
Danville 1.1" 11.2" 8.0" 62.1" (1959-60)
Bluefield 8.0" 55.5" 33.9" 77.8" (1995-96)
           
THE FOLLOWING ARE UNOFFICIAL OBSERVATIONS TAKEN DURING THE FEB
5TH-6TH, 2010 STORM.

APPRECIATION IS EXTENDED TO HIGHWAY DEPARTMENTS...COOPERATIVE AND 
COCORAHS OBSERVERS...SKYWARN SPOTTERS AND MEDIA FOR THESE REPORTS.  


********************STORM TOTAL SNOWFALL********************

LOCATION          STORM TOTAL    TIME/DATE    COMMENTS
                     SNOWFALL       OF
                     (INCHES)   MEASUREMENT


NORTH CAROLINA

...ALLEGHANY COUNTY...
   ENNICE                 8.0   400 PM   2/5   WINDS 25-30 MPH 
   SPARTA                 7.2  1040 AM   2/5   SLEET FRZ RAIN   
   SPARTA                 6.5   844 AM   2/5  

...ASHE COUNTY...
   BALDWIN               10.0   100 PM   2/5   SNOW SLEET MIX
   WEST JEFFERSON         9.0  1011 AM   2/5  
   TODD                   8.7   727 AM   2/6   1.5 E COCORAHS
   BEAVER CREEK           8.0   909 AM   2/5  
   FLEETWOOD              8.0   607 PM   2/5   ESPOTTER
   GLENDALE SPRINGS       8.0   100 PM   2/5  

...CASWELL COUNTY...
   WALLACE MILL           4.0  1155 AM   2/6   SPOTTER
   CAMP SPRINGS           3.5   905 AM   2/5   SNOW/SLEET MIX
   MILTON                 3.0  1134 AM   2/6   POST OFFICE
   SEMORA                 2.0  1141 AM   2/6   POST OFFICE
   YANCEYVILLE            1.6   700 AM   2/6  
   BLANCH                 1.5  1147 AM   2/6   SPOTTER

...ROCKINGHAM COUNTY...
   EDEN                   5.0   410 PM   2/5  
   RUFFIN                 4.0  1145 AM   2/6   SPOTTER
   REIDSVILLE             3.0   342 PM   2/5  

...STOKES COUNTY...
   KING                   4.0  1042 AM   2/5   LIGHT DRIZZLE 34F

...SURRY COUNTY...
   MOUNT AIRY             6.5   700 AM   2/6  
   DOBSON                 5.0   732 AM   2/6   2.3 SE COCORAHS
   PILOT MOUNTAIN         3.0   505 AM   2/5  

...WATAUGA COUNTY...
   BLOWING ROCK          14.0   750 AM   2/7   4.4 NE COCORAHS
   BOONE                 10.5   749 AM   2/6   0.3 SSE COCORAHS
   BOONE                  9.5   750 AM   2/7   6.2 ENE COCORAHS
   RUTHERWOOD             9.5  1153 AM   2/5  
   BLOWING ROCK           9.0   708 AM   2/6   2.8 ENE COCORAHS
   BOONE                  8.5   731 AM   2/6   0.3 NNW COCORAHS
   FOSCOE                 8.5   729 AM   2/6   1.2 WSW COCORAHS

...WILKES COUNTY...
   NORTH WILKESBORO       9.0   700 AM   2/6  
   MILLERS CREEK          8.0   952 AM   2/7   8.6 N COCORAHS
   MILLERS CREEK          6.9   752 AM   2/7   1.9 NNW COCORAHS
   WILKESBORO             5.0  1046 AM   2/5   SNOW SLEET FRZ RN

...YADKIN COUNTY...
   JONESVILLE             5.0  1050 AM   2/5  
   YADKINVILLE            3.4   700 AM   2/6  

VIRGINIA

...ALLEGHANY COUNTY...
   CLIFTON FORGE         12.0  1140 AM   2/6   WDBJ
   GATHRIGHT DAM          9.2   700 AM   2/6  
   COVINGTON              7.5  1018 PM   2/5   4 E

...AMHERST COUNTY...
   PEDLAR MILLS           9.4   215 PM   2/6   SPOTTER
   AMHERST                9.3  1154 AM   2/6  
   MADISON HEIGHTS        9.0   927 AM   2/6  
   HOLCOMB ROCK DAM       6.3   700 AM   2/6  
   PLEASANT VIEW          6.2   330 PM   2/5  

...APPOMATTOX COUNTY...
   APPOMATTOX             7.0  1024 AM   2/6  
   STONEWALL              5.0   135 PM   2/6  
   PAMPLIN                3.0  1024 AM   2/6  

...BATH COUNTY...
   ARMSTRONG             24.0  1106 AM   2/6   PUBLIC
   HOT SPRINGS           17.0   850 AM   2/6   WDBJ REPORT
   MILLBORO              15.0  1045 AM   2/6   VDOT
   WARM SPRINGS          12.0  1119 AM   2/6   LAW ENFORCEMENT

...BEDFORD COUNTY...
   STEWARTSVILLE         15.0  1226 PM   2/6  
   FOREST                 8.2  1005 AM   2/6  
   MONETA                 6.6   753 AM   2/7   4.8 S COCORAHS
   GOODVIEW               6.0   220 PM   2/5  
   MONETA                 4.7   754 AM   2/7   4.5 SSW COCORAHS
   BIG ISLAND             4.5   310 PM   2/5  

...BLAND COUNTY...
   BASTIAN               12.0  1026 AM   2/6  
   MECHANICSBURG         12.0  1000 AM   2/6  
   ROCKY GAP             12.0  1000 AM   2/6   POST OFFICE
   BLAND                 11.0  1029 AM   2/6  
   CERES                 11.0  1030 AM   2/6    SPOTTER

...BOTETOURT COUNTY...
   FINCASTLE             11.0  1049 AM   2/6  
   EAGLE ROCK            10.0  1107 AM   2/6  
   DALEVILLE              8.0  1107 AM   2/6  

...BUCKINGHAM COUNTY...
   DILLWYN                8.0  1014 AM   2/6  

...CAMPBELL COUNTY...
   WOODLAWN               5.3  1046 AM   2/5  
   BROOKNEAL              4.0   245 PM   2/5  
   CONCORD                4.0   323 PM   2/5  
   LONG ISLAND            4.0  1042 AM   2/6  

...CARROLL COUNTY...
   HILLSVILLE             7.7   100 PM   2/5   FREEZING RAIN/SLEET
   DUGSPUR                7.5   800 PM   2/5  
   HEBRON                 7.3   643 PM   2/5  
   LAUREL FORK            7.0   100 PM   2/5   3 MI NW

...CHARLOTTE COUNTY...
   CULLEN                 4.0  1034 AM   2/6  
   CHARLOTTE COURT        3.0   159 PM   2/5   SLEET NOW

...CITY OF BEDFORD...
   BEDFORD                7.0   700 AM   2/6  

...CITY OF BUENA VISTA...
   BUENA VISTA            7.0   748 AM   2/7   6.3 NNE COCORAHS

...CITY OF COVINGTON...
   COVINGTON             15.0  1135 AM   2/6   WDBJ REPORT
   COVINGTON             13.0  1145 AM   2/6   4.1 E COVINGTON

...CITY OF DANVILLE...
   DANVILLE               2.0   600 AM   2/5  

...CITY OF GALAX...
   GALAX                  7.0  1041 AM   2/5   WEST SIDE OF TOWN

...CITY OF LEXINGTON...
   LEXINGTON              8.3   922 AM   2/6   3 NNE LEXINGTON

...CITY OF LYNCHBURG...
   LYNCHBURG              7.0   100 PM   2/6   WSET METEOROLOGIST

...CITY OF MARTINSVILLE...
   MARTINSVILLE           5.0   604 PM   2/5  

...CITY OF RADFORD...
   RADFORD                8.5   540 AM   2/6   0.9 WNW COCORAHS

...CITY OF ROANOKE...
   ROANOKE                9.4  1248 AM   2/6   WDBJ                  
   ROANOKE                7.5  1020 PM   2/6   2 S ROANOKE CITY

...CITY OF SALEM...
   SALEM                  6.0   557 PM   2/5  

...CRAIG COUNTY...
   NEW CASTLE             7.0   845 PM   2/5   4NW
   BARBOURS CREEK         5.0   230 PM   2/5  

...FLOYD COUNTY...
   COPPER HILL           11.0   700 AM   2/6  
   COPPER HILL           10.9   730 AM   2/6   6.2 S COCO RAHS
   FLOYD                 10.0   950 AM   2/6   WDBJ REPORT
   TERRYS FORK           10.0   145 PM   2/5  
   WILLIS                 8.6   700 AM   2/6  
   LITTLE RIVER           8.0   145 PM   2/5  
   INDIAN VALLEY          7.3   130 PM   2/5   INCLUDES SOME SLEET

...FRANKLIN COUNTY...
   ROCKY MOUNT            9.9   711 AM   2/6   3.6 W COCO RAHS
   HARDY FORD             9.0   755 AM   2/7   5.7 SE COCORAHS
   ROCKY MOUNT            7.7   713 AM   2/6   6.4 NE COCO RAHS
   BOONES MILL            7.2   240 PM   2/5  
   WIRTZ                  6.5   240 PM   2/5  

...GILES COUNTY...
   STAFFORDSVILLE         9.0   700 AM   2/6  
   EGGLESTON              8.2  1012 AM   2/6  
   MAYBROOK               8.0  1249 AM   2/6  
   PEARISBURG             7.0   115 PM   2/6   SLEET 5PM-9PM FRI

...GRAYSON COUNTY...
   ELK CREEK              9.0  1115 AM   2/5   3400FT...RAINING NOW
   INDEPENDENCE           8.5  1230 PM   2/5   5 MI NORTHEAST
   FRIES                  8.0  1100 AM   2/5   NOW SLEET - SKYWARN
   INDEPENDENCE           7.0   800 AM   2/6   2.2 E COCORAHS
   CARSONVILLE            5.0   100 PM   2/5   NOW RAIN
   ELK CREEK              3.0   530 AM   2/5   SNOW/SLEET MIX

...HALIFAX COUNTY...
   HALIFAX                3.0   203 PM   2/5  
   RIDGEWAY               2.0   600 AM   2/5  
   SOUTH BOSTON           1.0   700 AM   2/6  

...HENRY COUNTY...
   BASSETT                7.0   135 PM   2/5  
   SANDY LEVEL            5.0   912 AM   2/6  
   AXTON                  1.3   530 AM   2/5  

...MONTGOMERY COUNTY...
   BRUSH MOUNTAIN        18.0   547 PM   2/6   NORTH BLACKSBURG
   MCCOY                 10.8   734 AM   2/6  
   LAUREL RIDGE          10.5  1006 AM   2/6  
   PILOT                 10.1   100 PM   2/6   SOME SLEET LAST NIGHT
   BLACKSBURG             9.9  1145 AM   2/6   BLACKSBURG NWS
   SHAWSVILLE             9.5  1142 AM   2/6   SPOTTER
   CHRISTIANSBURG         8.0   145 PM   2/5  
   LAFAYETTE              7.9   853 AM   2/6  
   MERRIMAC               6.0   525 PM   2/5  

...PATRICK COUNTY...
   MEADOWS OF DAN        11.5  1157 PM   2/5   AT MEADOWS OF DAN
   WOOLWINE               8.0   700 AM   2/6  
   WOOLWINE               8.0   717 AM   2/6   0.4 SW COCORAHS
   MEADOWS OF DAN         7.4   740 AM   2/7   4.5 WSW COCORAHS
   FAIRY STONE STATE      6.0  1114 AM   2/5   3.0 MI SW - NOW SLEET
   WOOLWINE               2.0   530 AM   2/5   COCORAHS

...PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY...
   GRETNA                 5.5  1230 PM   2/5  
   WOODLAKE PARK          4.8   330 PM   2/6   SPOTTER

...PULASKI COUNTY...
   PULASKI               10.0   700 AM   2/6  
   NEW RIVER              9.3   718 AM   2/6   0.6 NW COCORAHS
   FAIRLAWN               8.0   510 PM   2/5  
   DUBLIN                 7.0   700 AM   2/6  
   DRAPER                 2.5   720 AM   2/5  

...ROANOKE COUNTY...
   CAVE SPRING           11.0  1030 AM   2/6  
   WRIGHT                10.5  1000 AM   2/6   SPOTTER
   BONSACK                9.5  1013 AM   2/6  
   CATAWBA                3.0   320 PM   2/5  

...ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY...
   ROCKBRIDGE BATHS      10.0   115 PM   2/6  
   DECATUR                9.0   750 AM   2/6  
   RAPHINE                9.0   641 PM   2/5  
   GLASGOW                8.8   700 AM   2/6  
   BROWNSBURG             7.0  1023 AM   2/6  
   GLASGOW                6.8   700 AM   2/7   6.9 SSE COCORAHS
   NATURAL BRIDGE         6.0   327 PM   2/5   MIXING WITH SLEET
   FAIRFIELD              4.0   338 PM   2/5  

...SMYTH COUNTY...
   SUGAR GROVE           10.5  1128 AM   2/6   6 MILES EAST - IN CAMP
   MARION                 3.5   700 AM   2/7   2.4 ENE COCORAHS
   MARION                 3.2   840 AM   2/7   SPOTTER
   MARION                 2.0   719 AM   2/6   2.4 ENE COCORAHS
   SALTVILLE              1.5   701 AM   2/7   2.2 SE COCORAHS
   MARION                 1.0   701 AM   2/6   4.4 WSW COCORAHS
   SALTVILLE              1.0   700 AM   2/6  

...TAZEWELL COUNTY...
   BLUEFIELD              9.0   815 AM   2/6   WDBJ REPORT
   BOISSEVAIN             6.0  1055 AM   2/6  
   TANNERSVILLE           6.0  1030 AM   2/6   12" N OF TOWN ON MT
   BURKES GARDEN          5.0   700 AM   2/6  
   TAZEWELL               3.0  1044 AM   2/6   VDOT
   BISHOP                 1.5  1045 AM   2/6  
   CLAYPOOL HILL          0.5  1044 AM   2/6   VDOT

...WYTHE COUNTY...
   WYTHEVILLE            10.0  1155 AM   2/6  
   CRIPPLE CREEK          8.0   220 PM   2/5  

WEST VIRGINIA

...GREENBRIER COUNTY...
   QUINWOOD              24.0   700 PM   2/6  
   FRIARS HILL           15.0   750 AM   2/6  
   DUO                   12.0   600 PM   2/5  
   LEWISBURG             12.0   700 PM   2/6  
   RENICKS VALLEY        11.5   700 AM   2/6  
   MCROSS                10.0   700 AM   2/6  
   ALDERSON               9.2   700 AM   2/6  
   WHITE SULPHUR          9.0   700 AM   2/6  
   LEWISBURG              1.5   815 AM   2/5  

...MERCER COUNTY...
   BLUEFIELD              8.0   700 AM   2/6  
   ATHENS                 3.0   300 PM   2/5   S/IP, LIGHT GLAZE

...MONROE COUNTY...
   UNION                  7.8   700 AM   2/6  

...SUMMERS COUNTY...
   PENCE SPRINGS          8.5  1023 AM   2/6  
   BLUESTONE DAM          8.0   700 AM   2/6  
   HINTON                 3.0   944 AM   2/5   1.0 SLEET
   SANDSTONE              3.0   900 AM   2/5   SLEET MIXED IN