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Monday, May 27, 2024

Even with government shutdown, Weather Service still on. And they’re calling for snow

As residents in the Historic Triangle go to sleep on Saturday night, there may be a layer of snow starting to fall.

But only a thin one.

“It might be sticky snow at first on Saturday night but there most likely won’t be any significant accumulation,” said Wayne Albright, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Williamsburg is expected to experience more freezing rain than snow, most likely. But if it does snow, the bulk of the storm will hit between 2 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sunday morning. Albright said if it does snow, it will only be about one to two inches.

Albright said that there is a possibility of these predictions could change within the next day.

But for the rest of Hampton Roads, it’s a different story.

Throughout Newport News, Hampton and Virginia Beach Albright said that the chance of any snow at all is very slim.

“The storm system hasn’t really moved much, but there is warmer air coming off the ocean so that area will just see rain,” he said.

Albright added that these predictions for the rest of Hampton Roads most likely will not change because the ocean air is going to remain too warm for snow or even freezing rain.

Earlier in the week, meteorologists had predicted that Williamsburg would get snow depending on which direction a forming storm system moved. But now, it appears that if you take your sled out Sunday morning you’ll probably just be riding on damp grass.

The forecast come during the government shutdown, which means employees at the National Weather Service in Wakefield are currently working without pay.

“We are considered essential services so we’re required to come into work,” said Jeff Orrock, a meteorologist with NWS. “There’s no leave in the government shutdown and since this goes back to Christmas, a lot of people have had to cancel plans.”

But Orrock said the station in Wakefield is a tight-knit group of 19 employees who are supporting each other during this time.

The NWS maintains only essential forecasting operations during the shutdown. This means the observational systems running throughout the region are maintained even during a shutdown.

“We maintain the systems at the airports to tell you what the wind is, what the clouds are doing,” he said. “That’s critical information for air traffic.”

The NSW has had to stop non-essential work such as emergency training sessions and is solely focusing on the weather and observational systems.

At the moment, Orrock and other essential government employees have to go to work each day not knowing when the shutdown will end.

“We’re working with each other and dealing with it as best we can,” Orrock said.

Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at

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