Winter continues and our next winter weather maker is on the way. The one really good thing with this system, is that it's going to continue to bring us some much needed moisture, with 97% of Virginia under drought conditions.
The problems with this system will lie in the precipitation type.
Snow showers start moving in in the overnight hours tonight into Sunday morning.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
Snow will fill in through the area. Expect mainly wet snow showers for much of the day. The problem lies with the temperature, and IF we "warm" up. As it moves up from the south, temperatures could rise just enough for the snow to turn to a wintry mix to rain for the later afternoon and evening, or at least a very wet rain snow mix.
The rain/snow line will likely be right across our area. While this poses the biggest challenge when trying to determine the snow amount. A degree or two temperature difference will matter, so if temperatures don't rise then we will end up with a little more snow. The impact across the area is still going to be the same, hazardous road conditions.
At this point, it's looking good for closer to a quarter to a half of an inch with some locally higher amounts, as far as total liquid precipitation.
With a rain/snow line cutting right across the area, and temperatures around and just above freezing, pinpointing a snow amount is extremely challenging, and nearly impossible. With the high moisture content and the "wetness" of the snow, it's going to be more of a snowy wet mess. Since rain is currently predicted to come in the later afternoon, it will wash away a lot of the wet snow or what has accumulated.
A trace-2" of snowfall is expected for much of the area, with areas north of route 33 more likely to see the lower end of the range. However, the Alleghenies, Highland County, western and southern Augusta County are expected to see 2-4". This is where the potential for the most energy and the higher amounts of moisture could be. However, in the afternoon where we see a mix, these amounts could shrink quite a bit as some rain moves in.
For for those at about 2,500' and higher, this will primarily be an all-snow event.
WHAT COULD GO WRONG: Temperatures. We are talking a 1-3 degree change in temperatures that could make a huge difference with this storm. If the "warmer" air either doesn't arrive or arrives late, then we could be looking at some slightly higher snow amounts.
IMPACT: The impact, whether the system stays mainly snow or transitions from snow to rain will still be the same. Any surfaces will be cold enough for ice to form and road travel will still be hazardous Sunday, especially Sunday night through Monday.
Expect many roads to become slick, leading to hazardous travel for the day on Sunday. Even as the air temperature gets just above freezing, the ground is always colder. So road surfaces, bridges, overpasses, sidewalks, driveways, patios- all likely will be slick with ice in some areas Sunday, especially in the afternoon and into early Monday. The precipitation will stop overnight Sunday night, but with the cold, slick roads are likely through early Monday. Likely some delays across the area Monday morning.
There will be some gusty winds, but they are not expected to be strong, or steady enough for widespread power outages. High elevations, especially above 3,000' will see the strongest gusts, and would have a greater potential for some power outages.
WRAPPING UP: Overall, with a mix of precipitation and borderline freezing temperatures, this can definitely lead to a wintry mess across the region. Stay tuned as this system track continues to become more clear, but as far as Sunday afternoon, it may all just come down to location. Some may see more snow through the day, and some may see a bit more rain mixing in. It will likely be quite mixed across the area for the day.
Stay tuned to your WHSV app, where you can check the latest forecast.