Mix of rain, freezing rain Sunday evening through early Monday
Areas north of 460 stand the best chance for ice accumulation
ROANOKE, Va. – Just two days ago, we were talking about record-breaking warmth in parts of the area. Now, we're talking about the chance for some wintry weather. Fortunately, we're dry the rest of Saturday and much of Sunday.
However, we are tracking a weak storm system to our west and high pressure to our east. The combination of the two will give us the chance for brief sleet and/or freezing rain. No alerts have been issued for this, but the National Weather Service in Blacksburg has said that a Winter Weather Advisory may be needed for mainly areas along and north of Highway 460.
We could see a brief period of sleet and/or freezing rain in the NRV and Roanoke Valley between 5 and 9 p.m. Very light accumulations, if any, would occur during that time frame.
After 8 p.m., the better chance for ice accumulation will be in parts of Botetourt, Craig, Alleghany, Bath, Highland, Augusta and Rockbridge Counties. That's where cold air at the ground level should really hang tough.
This doesn't have the makings of a huge storm, mostly because of two things: a) dry air early on could delay when precipitation moves in and b) temperatures will barely get below freezing.
That's why we have Lynchburg, Roanoke and parts of the NRV in the 0-0.10" of freezing rain. Some places could drop to 32°, while other spots could only get to 33°. That's why we have that range.
We don't foresee Martinsville or Southside seeing any kind of frozen precipitation. As mentioned before, however, areas north of 460 and closer to I-64 could wind up seeing a tenth of an inch or more of ice.
One thing we have working for us is our recent warm-up. Most main roads retain heat very well, meaning that road temperatures this time around will be in the 40s. So, it's unlikely that we'll see any major road issues Sunday night into early Monday morning. Power outages typically don't occur until you see a quarter of an inch of ice accumulation, so we'll say that threat is sporadic at best.
Lastly, because bridges, overpasses, side streets and hand rails cool more efficiently, we could see some slippery spots there Sunday night. That's especially going to be the case for areas north of Highway 460.
Be sure to stay tuned for updates. Most of what we see Monday and Tuesday will be in the form of rain. Thankfully, we'll dry out in time for Valentine's Day before more rain re-enters the forecast next Friday.
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