Pinpoint Weather: Major Winter Storm expected tonight with snow, sleet and freezing rain all likely

Weather Blog

Update: 11:00 PM Wednesday

Snow is falling in West Virginia at the moment and will be crossing into the Commonwealth and will be falling fairly aggressively from west to east into the morning hours. Still expecting to see amounts in the 4 – 6″ range. Freezing rain and sleet will be more likely accumulating in Southside to around a half-inch. Power outages are expected. Travel will be very difficult.

The entire area is expected to get hit with another round of wintry weather tonight. The storm will be more impactful to a greater number of viewers in our region and will do so in a variety of ways.

First of all, the area is dealing with some cold air, which will allow the storm to begin as snow. There is a good deal of moister available for this event so there will be a good deal of snow at the start. The timing of the snow will be after sunset and arrive from the west and south.  The snow will be heavy at times and this will be phase one of the event.  The amounts will be high in the Alleghany Highlands as well as our western counties of the NRV with 7 plus inches expected in those areas. The Pocahontas and Greenbrier county locations may see up to 10” in some of the higher elevated locations.  Snow along interstate 81 from the NRV to Rockbridge county will be in the 4 -6” range and the snow east of the Parkway will be in the 2 – 4” category.

Sleet does seem to be coming a bit more prominent in this equation for tonight and tomorrow. One of our models has a good deal more sleet accumulation before the transition to freezing rain, so there will be that to contend with late tonight and early Thursday morning. 

Sleet is also referred to as ice pellets. They accumulate and are easily shoveled away, but if left alone can congeal into an icy sheet and make travel difficult, especially on back roads that get little traffic.  The sleet will be in the southern tier of the region and could be a problem. 

Freezing rain will follow the snow and the sleet and will be more prominent in the Piedmont. Folks in locations east of the Blue Ridge Parkway will be looking at another round of icy glaze that will accumulate to about a half inch or more. This will weigh down the trees and power lines and cause massive power outages if it pans out as forecast.   Most locations will see what is considered “ice storm” category freezing rain accumulations (over .25”) so we all need to be ready for some power outages. 

This will be a very devastating storm for a variety of reasons, most damaging will be the freezing rain.  Snow and sleet will be the main feature north and west, Ice in the east.  Stay alert and informed, make sure to get our app if you don’t have it.

Keep your phone charged, get some ice and coolers for your fridge and stay as warm as you can.   

Once the storm clears late Thursday, there will be a blast of arctic air to keep us cold after the storm.  Prepare for the cold weather too.

Stay safe

John Carroll
Chief Meteorologist 

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