Winter storm warning updates – We seem to be in control of the upcoming winter storm. As I said yesterday, there was only a slight change in this update compared to my thinking yesterday. For myself and my clients, I want to categorize the storm based on the headlines.
The easy part is that snow is expected to begin Sunday afternoon for most of us. Additionally, it will rain and there will be STRONG WINDS overnight for most of us. I’ve included some details below with a timeline slider.
WHAT’S NEW TONIGHT?
The high-resolution data continue to point toward a much icier storm on Sunday. We experienced around 3-5 hours of healthy snowfall Sunday morning into early Sunday afternoon before the sleet and ice hit. If the sleet kicks in, the snow totals will be hard to see unless the cold air wins out. In addition to the snow we received earlier, we’re likely to see an inch or two of sleet as well. Finally, a few more inches of snow are possible as the storm closes out Sunday night.
START TIME: Snow will begin accumulating in the region from the south between 5 am and noon on Sunday.
END TIME: The precipitation should end by midnight.
A DAY OF TRANSITION – WINTER TIMELINE
|MORNING||Snow overspreads the region south to north||Roads become slippery quickly after snow starts|
|MIDDAY||Mainly snow; some sleet mixing Southside||Roads become covered as snow rates are higher|
|AFTERNOON||Sleet mixes with snow for much of the afternoon. More significant ice Southside (freezing rain) clinging objects.||Snowfall rates slow down, but roads remain slippery with sleet; Icicles on objects (Southside)|
|EVENING||The colder air changes sleet/ice briefly back to snow as the storm exits around midnight||Another inch of snow is possible. Winds also increase leading to possible power issues|
HIGHEST TOTALS: We believe the highest snow/sleet totals will remain along/west of I-81, hugging the VA/WV border across the western NRV, Roanoke Valley, and into the Highlands. As much as 12 inches is possible on the highest peaks, as much as 6 inches is likely in the valleys.
LOWEST TOTALS: The snow/sleet totals will be lowest on the Southside, where more freezing rain will be expected. Locals like Danville and South Boston may struggle to reach an inch of snow before the sleet and freezing rain stop accumulation.
ICE (FREEZING RAIN) AMOUNTS
Freezing rain clings to surfaces as it falls and freezes. Snow is ice pellets that bounce. The storm will also produce both types of ice. The amount of freezing rain has increased over the Southside, where .10″ to .25″ of ice will cling to elevated surfaces. Among these are trees and power lines that may become heavy and cause power outages.
Before the storm, temperatures will be in the 20s, which should allow snow to stick shortly after it starts falling. In addition to the low temperatures, road treatment should keep main roads from becoming icy. Back roads and neighborhoods will also be slippery.
Even after the storm ends, winds will continue to gust with gusts topping 25-40 mph, which could result in downed trees and power outages.
Those who would like to submit snow/sleet and freezing rain reports, here’s a reminder on the best way to measure these. Visit https://t.co/evR2uuKvSr for snow/sleet and https://t.co/nRsz26tQw6 for ice/freezing rain. pic.twitter.com/o9O4KZ11QL
— NWS Blacksburg (@NWSBlacksburg) January 15, 2022
After the storm, temperatures will remain cold on Monday with highs in the low 30s and sunshine. Every night this week, a freeze is expected to turn melted snow on roads and sidewalks back into ice.