ROANOKE, Va. – While not a major winter storm, we are tracking rain and snow for the area Tuesday. We'll break things down into a few parts: 1) timing 2) projected totals and 3) impacts/cold air to follow.
The Tuesday morning commute looks fine, as a cold front looms to the west. Some light snow may start in the west-facing slopes, but most of the area will be quiet.
By mid-day Tuesday, areas east of the Blue Ridge are still dry. Around lunchtime, however, some parts of the NRV and Highlands may start to see some snow. We can't completely rule out early school cancellations in this parts of the region.
Rain, sleet and snow will then spread east through the afternoon, meaning some snow may start in the Roanoke Valley after lunchtime.
After sunset, this system is moving east. So if you see snow where you live, it would probably be for about 3 to 4 hours.
So how much are we talking? We're going to break things down for you region-by-region and explain why we're forecasting these totals.
2. Projected Totals
The NRV, Mountain Empire/I-77 corridor and the Highlands are expected to receive 1-3" of snow. Even though you'll see snow in broad daylight, the coolness of the higher elevations should allow things to stick. Included in this 1-3" are Bent Mountain and some higher spots of Roanoke County like Catawba.
For Lexington, Lynchburg, Botetourt, the Roanoke Valley and parts of Bedford, Franklin and Henry Counties, we are forecasting a trace to an inch. Why so low? Because this front pushes in during the middle of the day, we may see some rain and sleet before snow. Also, some "downsloping" may dry things out a bit in this parto of the region, which is why we're leaning toward lower snow totals. (If the storm can restrengthen a few miles west, then areas like Lynchburg can see more than an inch.)
Once the front moves farther east and away from the Foothills, it will regain some energy. This, along with a later start time, is why we have snow totals just a hair higher for parts of Southside. Keep in mind that up to 2" does not guarantee that you see two inches of snow. There's a range for a reason. If the snow starts earlier, then Southside would see less snow because of the warmth of daylight.
3. Impacts/Cold to Follow
Some patches of black ice on side roads and on sidewalks will be possible Tuesday evening through Wednesday morning. That's as some very cold air moves into the region. This may also result in some school schedule changes on Wednesday.
Lows by Thursday morning fall into the single digits. Any little bit of wind, however, can make things feel even colder than that.
While this is not a 6-12" kind of snow storm, we are tracking it closely. It could have impact to travel and schedules. If anything changes in the snow total forecast, we will certainly let you.
As of this article, we are confident in our forecast and our reasoning behind it. Stay tuned for updates on air, online, on social media and on the StormTeam 10 app.