Following two significant bouts of snow to start the new year and a traffic jam that left hundreds stranded, Virginia is bracing for what could be the biggest snow of the season.
Parts of the Commonwealth are expecting up to 20″ of the white stuff this weekend. Though who gets what will come down to the storm’s track which isn’t preordained.
As Lynchburg’s ABC 13 News reports:
Our first forecast: 10” to 20” for Roanoke/Blacksburg, Wytheville, Lexington, Clifton Forge the mountains of Bedford, Amherst and Nelson.
Snow is expected to start in the south central part of the state early on Sunday morning. Chief Meteorologist George Flickinger strongly advises locals to stay put. If you must travel, he says, “Go Saturday. If you have a flight on Sunday, it will likely be canceled. It could be possible that the first flight or two does get out of ROA, LYH or CHO before the snow thickens, but I wouldn’t count on it.”
Roanoke’s WSLS warns Southwestern Virginians to plan ahead as well. “…the roads will be a mess Sunday into Monday. As the wind cranks around the system, power outages will become a concern and could last into/beyond Monday.”
As we head into the afternoon, we’ll watch a layer of “warm” air above the surface try to creep in. If that layer is small, we get sleet to compact the snow that’s fallen. If that layer is thicker, freezing rain falls and leaves a layer of ice on top of the snowpack.
Where exactly that happens is a game of 25-50 miles. (emphasis added)
Closer to Washington, D.C., precipitation will start a little latter. Most, if not all of it in NoVa will transition to snow by noon. A snow and freezing rain mix is possible in the evening, though the heaviest accumulations are expected from a line between Wytheville and Roanoke and areas to the south.
Here is the expected snowfall for Virginia cities based on the latest models for the National Weather Service:
Granted, there’s still three days left… an eternity in meteorology!