Pinpoint Weather: Sleet, ice, snow and rain today, black ice possible overnight
A mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain will fall over the Commonwealth starting today and linger through Thursday. Expect travel to be very difficult to flat out dangerous in spots as the region is overtaken by snow and ice.
This is a complex pattern with two area of low pressure passing close to Virginia. One area will be in the west the other along the coast. The combination of the two will make for a mix of wintry precipitation. The presence of an area of high pressure in eastern Canada is the feature that will provide the cold air wedge needed to help generate the mix of snow and ice.
The amount of snow will be highest in the mountains where the storm will be consisting mainly of all snow. The snowfall amounts decrease significantly the further south you go. The snowfall amounts will be mashed down by the freezing rain and rain so the totals will be less, but the danger will be highest. The icy glaze laid down by the freezing rain is the most impactful as it is very difficult to drive on (basically a thin layer of ice) and the weight on power lines and tree limbs often cause them to break or snap.
Just a reminder, freezing rain is rain that actually freezes on contact creating an icy glaze on surfaces (streets, power lines, trees, decks etc.). Look for the potential for us to get about 0.10 – 0.20” of thickness throughout the region. If the transition to rain is relatively quick then the ice will melt faster, but I would prepare for a very dangerous commute both in the morning and on the way home.
Overnight Wednesday into Thursday there is the potential for re-freezing so there may be some black ice on area roads. Travel will once again be impacted on Thursday morning, more than likely on secondary roads, but bigger roads may have issues on bridges and overpasses.
Bottom line today is going to be a messy day with icy roads and sidewalks, sleet and snow followed by rain and fog…everyone will be impacted. If you don’t have to travel, don’t, but if you do make sure to have a safety kit in your car in case you are stranded for a spell.
Stay safe and healthy
Roanoke Valley: Snow to wintry mix to freezing rain. Snow 2 – 3” Ice to 0.20”
Southside: Wintry mix to freezing rain to rain. Ice to 0.15”
Lynchburg region: Snow to wintry mix to freeing rain. Snow 2 – 3” Ice to 0.20”
New River Valley: Snow to mix to some freezing rain. Snow 3 – 5” Ice to 0.10”
Highlands: Snow likely 5 – 7”
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