Okay, let’s end the suspense. The answer to the question posed in the headline is, “no.” Snow isn’t in the forecast.
But it might wind up there.
As we wrote earlier this week, the second half of April is going to feature below-normal temperatures as a general rule. And the apex of this cool down is going to be the middle of next week, when an abnormal late-season blast of cold air impacts the region.
For now, the National Weather Service’s forecast for Oneida next Wednesday is ho-hum: A high of 53, with a 20% chance of showers early, after a low of 37 Tuesday night and before a low of 33 Wednesday night.
But don’t take that forecast verbatim just yet. Because if the cold wave that’s coming hits our region with a full head of steam, we’re going to be dealing with a late freeze, and the potential for some snowflakes flying in the air Wednesday morning.
Currently, the GFS computer model sports snow flurries Wednesday morning, with a low of 30 degrees right around sunrise. There’s not a lot of model support for this projection; the ECMWF — the GFS’s counterpart in the modeling game — isn’t quite as cold (mid 30s for a low) and doesn’t have as much moisture. But it’s something to keep an eye on.
To be sure, we aren’t talking about anything substantial. Light snow flurries, at best, with no accumulation at all…and even if snowflakes are flying, we’ll get into the 40s for high temperatures Wednesday afternoon. But snowflakes in late April are a rare occurrence, even here on the northern Cumberland Plateau.
The bigger story will be the cold weather. Not that late April freezes are abnormal. In fact, the average date of our last freeze of the season in Oneida is April 30, so we’re still well within our window for expecting blasts of cold air. Last year, we saw freezing temperatures as late as May 11, and have seen at least one freeze during the month of May four of the past five years. But the frequency of late-season freezes don’t make them any more fun to endure.
For now, the NWS is forecasting a quick rebound, with a high of 60 on Thursday. The GFS, which is being stubborn with its depiction of this mid-week cold snap, isn’t so sure. If it proves correct, we’ll struggle to break 50 degrees on Thursday, with the chance of frost on Thursday morning.
The good news is it looks like a warming trend will begin by next weekend, which will take us the rest of the way through April and into the first few days of May. So, with any luck, this will be Ol’ Man Winter’s last hurrah.