On the 12th day of the new year, the National Weather Service bought a serious Winter Storm Warning that could bring up to six inches of snow, along with an inch or more of sleet and freezing rain to our part of Southwestern Virginia.
The forecast called for both snow and ice on a watch that began at 1 p.m. Saturday to 7 p.m. Sunday.
The NWS warning (updated Saturday night):
..WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 7 PM EST SUNDAY… * WHAT….Primarily sleet and freezing rain, with some snow. Additional sleet and snow accumulations of 1 to 3 inches, with ice accumulations up to 0.2 inch possible. * WHERE…Portions of central, south central, southwest and west central Virginia. * WHEN…Until 7 PM EST Sunday. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Untreated roads and surface will be slippery and hazardous. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A Winter Storm Warning for snow and sleet means severe winter weather conditions will make travel very hazardous or impossible. If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency. The latest road conditions for the state you are calling from can be obtained by calling 5 1 1. The public is encouraged to report snowfall amounts or ice accumulation to the National Weather Service via email at email@example.com…through Facebook or Twitter…or by calling 1…8 6 6…2 1 5…4 3 2 4. Pictures are greatly appreciated. &&
…Wintry mix of precipitation expected to continue through Sunday… A slow moving vigorous storm system was moving east-northeast from the western part of the TN valley this evening. Below freezing air in the mid 20s to lower 30s continued to reside over the MidAtlantic and Central/Northern Appalachians thanks to a cold wedge of high pressure slowly retreating away from the northeastern U.S. Warm air aloft riding northward over the cold surface air continued to bring a variety of winter precipitation to the area. In the far northern parts of the forecast area, mainly the I-64 corridor, precipitation was falling mainly as snow. Further south, however, precipitation was falling mainly in the form of sleet and freezing rain. As of 10 PM EST Saturday evening, winter precipitation accumulations varied from 3 inches of snow near the I-64 corridor to about 1 inch of snow and 1 inch of sleet in the Blacksburg, VA area, to < 1 inch of sleet/freezing rain toward areas such as Mt. Airy, NC. Additional accumulations of mainly sleet and/or freezing rain south and snow or sleet north can be expected overnight and Sunday morning. The precipitation will begin to diminish Sunday afternoon and evening, becoming light snow or freezing drizzle by evening. Accumulations of ice, sleet, and snow will continue to result in hazardous driving conditions through much of the forecast area through Sunday.
Roanoke Times weather guru Kevin Myatt updated Saturday evening as well:
Warm southerly flow aloft bringing the moisture in for tonight’s wintry precipitation is overcoming the cold air aloft just enough precipitation has largely changed to sleet and freezing rain in much of the Roanoke and New River valleys and southward. This will now likely be the tenor for the remainder of the night, with more limited total sleet/snow accumulations (under 3 inches for most) and some glazing on exposed objects, but also still some slickened roadways. There may still be some toggling back and forth between precipitation types, so don’t rule out seeing some snow at times. The best chance for still getting some heavier snow totals will be near the I-64 corridor to the north. Precipitation will likely to change back to snow during the day Sunday, but will be lighter than tonight’s precipitation.
The waiting and guessing is over. The storm is with us.