Arctic air lingers

Published 7:59 pm Friday, February 20, 2015

The low temperatures that dogged us this past week will start to rise marginally, but the arctic air mass isn’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future, according to the National Weather Service.

The 5 degrees recorded at Suffolk Executive Airport at 7 a.m. Friday was the lowest in Hampton Roads. Though data there doesn’t go back far enough to establish that as a record-breaking temperature, the 9 at Norfolk International Airport at 7:23 a.m. was the lowest temperature recorded there on a Feb. 20 since 1896.

Though temperatures will climb enough this weekend to see some significant melting of the snow and ice that blanketed the area by Monday — particularly once combined with likely rain showers — the weather will cool down again next week, said James Foster, a meteorologist with the service in Wakefield.

Email newsletter signup

“At the present time, it looks like no significant warming,” he said. “Looking at the upper air patterns, we’re still under the influence of a big trough of cold air pushing down from Canada.”

Highs next week will mostly be in the 30s, Foster said, maybe reaching around 40. Asked when the cold air mass would depart, “We’re not sure right now,” he said.

There’s not much likelihood Suffolk will get more snow accumulation, according to Foster, but the weather service was forecasting online a slight chance of rain and snow Monday and a slightly greater chance of snow Tuesday and Tuesday night.

“From what we have seen of the system, it looks like any snow will be more toward the western side of the Suffolk area,” Foster said, adding Suffolk may get a burst, but that’s about it.

Suffolk spokeswoman Diana Klink stated that Public Works crews would continue monitoring roadway conditions, adding that higher temperatures — up to 52 degrees on Sunday — and about half an inch of rain over the weekend “should help melt a large portion of the ice and snow.”

Re-freezing roads are a possibility for Sunday night and Monday, according to Klink. “If roadways are significantly wet, brine pretreatment will not be effective,” she added.

“We are monitoring conditions, and we are being very responsive to the developing conditions, but with temps hovering around freezing and forecasts days out, we make all plans tentative.

“We are prepared to put all Public Works trucks back on the road, should the need arise. We are still asking for drivers to be watchful for potential icy spots and to be alert for our crews.”

Information is available for citizens at