Wintry mix today


Wintry weather arrives today as snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain arrive.

Although all of the precipitation types not being represented, most of them are going to cross and fall on the region Saturday.  Expect to see snow first in the region, followed by some sleet then freezing rain then rain.  I am not expecting graupel or hail which would pretty much cover all the precip types for the day.  The wintry mix is going to make travel tricky in the area as the roads will be slick and the visibility at times may be limited.  Give yourself some extra time to get to your destination if you are planning any travel Saturday.

Timing of the event will be mainly in the late morning as far as the light snow is concerned, then a change over to sleet and freezing rain in the mid-day time frame, followed by rain that will linger into the night.  There will be a warm pocket of air that will arrive overnight, so freezing of the water on the ground and roads should be confined to higher elevated locations. 

As for the amount of the precip types we can go light on all elements.

Snow:  I expect only about an inch of snow to fall and that will be mainly in the mountains.  The foothills to the Blue Ridge Parkway will see less than an inch.  Southside may not see much in the way of snow.

Sleet:  Ice pellets will be falling as we transition from snow to freezing rain.  The ice will bounce in the area for a while, but again, more than likely only pile up to about a quarter of an inch.  Since the ice pellets will fall onto the snow, there may be some trouble identifying the height.

Freezing Rain:  This is the icy glaze that will build up on roads, trees, power lines, your car windshield and back deck etc. and is the most dangerous of all the precip types that are slated for Saturday.  The timing of the icy glaze is expected to be in the mid-afternoon time frame and will only be a light glaze in most areas.  There may be as much as one tenth of an inch accumulate in the Alleghany Highlands while other locations west of the Parkway will see just a bit of a glaze. Freezing rain may not be much of an issue east of the Parkway, but the potential for accumulating ice is not zero, it is just very low.

Rain will follow the mix and be a good scrubbing brush for all the mess that has fallen ahead of it to that point.  The rain will linger into the evening.  I do expect a good deal of fog to develop as the rain falls over the frozen precipitation from earlier in the day.

Some of the models only have the sleet and freezing rain north of 460, and that seems to be a good bet.  Other models just have a bit of a glaze south.  Bottom line, all of the precip types that will fall Saturday are not all that bad if they fall alone, but combined, it makes for a messy and slick day Saturday.

Sunday, we dry out and stay chilly with highs in the low 40s.  Monday, Martin Luther King, JR Day, will be cold with highs in the 30s.  Expect a dry and chilly week ahead and nothing in the way of rain slated for the region until next weekend.

John Carroll                                                      
Chief Meteorologist

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