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Winter storm brings heavy snow and a wintry mix

A large, potent storm will impact the region tonight into Sunday.
Published: Jan. 31, 2021 at 5:22 AM EST
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One of the more impactful storms we’ve seen since 2018 will move into the region Sunday and last into Monday, with snow and ice to cause travel problems.

Guys, this first band of snow is just the appetizer and it's already sticking. The main event arrives during the middle of the night. Photos: Eve Green | Glenn Leonard (New River Valley)

Posted by Brent Watts WDBJ7 on Saturday, January 30, 2021

SUNDAY SNOW AND ICE

Unlike our past storms, the ground is colder leading up to the storm, there’s more available water in the atmosphere, and it will be a longer-duration event.

With that being said, this likely won’t be an all-snow storm for everyone. In fact, as warmer air moves in several thousand feet up, we will see a changeover from snow back to ice or even a cold rain during the day Sunday, especially along the VA/NC border.

STORM TIMING

  • Snow spreads across the entire region early this morning. Snow will be falling area-wide by daybreak Sunday.
  • Most of the heaviest snow will be falling during the first half of the day where snowfall rates will be the highest.
  • Spotty snow showers/sleet/frz. rain may linger at times into the evening and even early Monday.
A majority of the snow will fall from before sunrise Sunday through around midday before mixing...
A majority of the snow will fall from before sunrise Sunday through around midday before mixing with sleet and freezing rain at times.(WDBJ7)

IMPACTS

  • Hazardous travel late Saturday night through Monday. Untreated roads will be snow and ice covered.
  • Accumulations of freezing rain could result in downed tree limbs and scattered power outages.

SNOWFALL TOTALS

Along with the snow, we could also see a period of freezing rain and rain mixing in as well. However, even if a mix does occur, parts of our area, along and north of 460 corridor, could still be looking at a plowable snow late this weekend.

Virginia's Blue Ridge
Virginia's Blue Ridge(WDBJ)
Highest totals of ice expected in Southside.
Highest totals of ice expected in Southside.(WDBJ7 Weather)

SNOW ZONE FORECASTS

VIRGINIA’S BLUE RIDGE

Much of the Roanoke Valley and Blue Ridge extending from 460 north will see heavy snow early Sunday. Snow will gradually taper off late in the morning and likely even transition briefly to freezing rain or sleet in the afternoon. The map below shows how much snow we have to go. We’ve already seen 2-3″.

Snow Amounts
Snow Amounts(WDBJ)

SOUTHSIDE

Southside will be the area most likely impacted by significant ice totals as warmer air intrudes from the south. This would mean more than likely light snow amounts with a larger mix of freezing rain. Areas closest to the VA-NC state-line could see up to .25+” of freezing rain. This could lead to downed power lines/trees and power outages.

Snow totals through Sunday.
Snow totals through Sunday.(WDBJ7 Weather)

NEW RIVER VALLEY

This region will see varying precipitation types depending on elevation and altitude. Areas higher north into the foothills will have better chances of significant snow Sunday. Those farther to the west and south will have much more ice mixing in. Power outages will be possible.

Snow totals through Sunday.
Snow totals through Sunday.(WDBJ7 Weather)

CENTRAL VIRGINIA

Areas along and north of 460 continue to boast the best shot at seeing heavy snow totals. Those farther to the south could have sleet cut into totals. Significant snow would lead to major disruptions to roads Sunday.

Snowfall forecast.
Snowfall forecast.(WDBJ)

ALLEGHANY HIGHLANDS AND WV MOUNTAINS

Heavy snowfall and minimal ice is expected across the higher elevations of the Highlands and WV mountains. Up to a foot or more of snow is likely leading to significant impacts and impassable roads Sunday into Monday.

Snowfall forecast.
Snowfall forecast.(WDBJ)

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