Forecast for the winter storm expect to arrive on Sunday are coming together as more information becomes available. Ahead of the snow expect to see the region getting much cooler and cloudier. Tonight, there will be partly cloudy skies as temps drop into the twenties. Winds will be light and variable coming mainly from the north.
Saturday is what I like to refer to as the setup day before a big weather event. This event is the snow and freezing rain that is slated to arrive Sunday. Winter storm warning has replaced a good part of the Watch, which should be adjusted soon depening on the intensity of the storm in those areas.
Clouds will fill the sky on Saturday and the temperatures will be in the 30s. A few flurries are possible in the NRV and possibly the Roanoke area Saturday afternoon, but should not accumulate any snow. Saturday night will be much colder that previous nights with lows in the teens and low 20s most locations.
Sunday is the going to be a very snowy day. The snow will arrive from the southwest just before sunrise along our border counties and migrate north. Roanoke should be seeing snow just a little after sunrise, Lynchburg closer to 8am.
The air will be cold enough to support an all-snow event for several hours allowing snow to build up to several inches. The snow amounts will vary of course but generally, the region is looking at about 10 inches plus or minus for areas west of the Highway 220 line and much less east of that line.
The reason the Piedmont will see less is due to the potential for sleet and freezing rain to begin around the middle of the afternoon.
Freezing rain is rain that freezes on contact and generates an icy glaze on whatever it comes in contact with. It accumulates and hangs on to elevated objects with the major danger, other than the slick surface, is the weight. The ice will not fall off if the winds blow like snow, it will usually pull down any tree limb or power line it has accumulated on.
Snow should start to taper off around a little before midnight with some lingering snow in the mountains into Sunday morning. The snow will be blowing around overnight as the winds pick up and the storm center pulls away.
Travel will be very dangerous Sunday and Monday. Power outages are more than likely to occur. Prepare today and Saturday for the events ahead and remember to be a good neighbor, checking in on the elderly. Also if you have to get out on the roads, make sure you have a safety kit in your vehicle.