First Call Snow Forecast: Major impacts from weekend storm

Warming temperatures through Friday
Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 3:52 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2022 at 7:06 PM EST
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  • A few snow showers tonight in the mountains
  • Quiet and dry Friday and Saturday
  • A major winter storm setting up for Sunday-Monday

THURSDAY - FRIDAY

Prior to this weekend’s winter system, there is another shot at snow for some as a low pressure system develops and pushes north off the Mid-Atlantic coast. A few light showers will be possible today into tonight. This will be far less impactful, with only a chance at a couple of inches of snow in the western slopes Thursday night into Friday.

A shot at snow showers Thursday night with a couple of inches in the highest elevations.
A shot at snow showers Thursday night with a couple of inches in the highest elevations.(WDBJ Weather)

WEEKEND WINTER STORM

The first half of the weekend will be quite cold with highs in the 30s Saturday. This cools the ground and the air, setting the stage for a southern storm to arrive Sunday. You should finish up any urgent plans Saturday as conditions will go downhill quickly Sunday morning.

Data continues to suggest a major winter storm is coming up from the south Sunday into Monday with multi-day impacts for much of the Mid-Atlantic region. From here on out, we should have much more data and a better idea on timing and totals. This is what we know so far.

TIMING

We anticipate the snow start sometime between sunrise and lunchtime Sunday, spreading south to north. The heaviest precipitation appears to be Sunday afternoon into Sunday night where snowfall rates may be intense. Any remaining winter precipitation should exit by midday Monday.

SNOW AMOUNTS

For the past few days, models have been suggesting large snowfall totals that could reach close to a foot or more. We agree that snow totals could reach these values given cold air and plenty of moisture with this system. As you make plans, consider the possibility of being stuck for a few days.

Heavy snow and some ice likely this weekend.
Heavy snow and some ice likely this weekend.(WDBJ Weather)

TEMPERATURES

Temperatures will be in the 30s leading up to the storm which should allow for sticking immediately as it begins to fall. In fact, cold air will be funneled in from the north during the event. This could allow for decent snow ratios from the initial burst of snow.

Sleet may cut into snow totals over Southside and areas farther west depending on the storm's...
Sleet may cut into snow totals over Southside and areas farther west depending on the storm's track.(WDBJ Weather)

What remains a big question is when and where temperatures will warm above freezing in the higher levels of the atmosphere. This will determine where a rain/snow/icy mix line sets up across the state. This could mean the difference between one place getting major snow, and others seeing less snow and an icy mix. Sleet can really cut snow totals due to how much moisture it eats up.

For now, the best chance of sleet would be along and east of the Blue Ridge. Ice models are suggesting upwards of .25″ of freezing rain is possible across parts of Halifax and Charlotte counties. This could shift depending on the exact track.

Mixing is likely across the Southside Sunday afternoon/evening which may lead to significant...
Mixing is likely across the Southside Sunday afternoon/evening which may lead to significant icing.(WDBJ7)

WINDS

Winds will turn gusty during and after the storm with gusts 25+ mph which may lead to power outages. This could also lead to large snow drifts.

After the storm, temperatures remain cold on Monday with highs only in the low 30s with sunshine and breezy conditions. An overnight freeze can be expected each night through the week, turning any melted snow on the roads and sidewalks back into ice.

We remain dry and chilly for much of the week. By Thursday and Friday, another system may arrive delivering a second dose of wintry weather. Let’s not put the cart before the horse.

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