Tracking the potential for light snow for some Saturday

Not a major winter storm, but some light snow accumulations possible


ROANOKE, Va. – The storm track is picking up steam, resulting in more frequent opportunities for precipitation over the course of the next week. Most of that will be in the form of rain, but with a little bit of cold air around - we cannot rule out some brief snow this Saturday. 

The best chance for accumulating snow, at the moment, appears to be along and to the north of 460.


Most roads are currently quite warm, so it would take some very heavy snow in order for it to accumulate on the main roads. The better chance of that, however, is in areas in pink on the map above. Otherwise, power outages and church delays/closings look to be held to a minimum. 


Any slight wobble in the storm track could change where the narrow band of snow develops.

Here's why:


This is the part of the article where we'll get into the meteorology and how it impacts what we see here at the ground level. We'll start with the winds at airplane level, commonly known as the jet stream. 

A narrow band of very strong winds at airplane level is what we'll be tracking Friday and Saturday, as that will impact where the narrow band of precipitation develops. 


This narrow band of precipitation will fall in the form of snow and ice from Missouri through parts of Kentucky. Rain is more likely farther south into the Tennessee River Valley, where the air won't be as cold. 


A very specific part of the jet stream, what we call the "left exit" in meteorology, is what we'll have to watch this Saturday. This part helps to lift the air more, which favors more precipitation.


At the moment, this looks to favor "higher" snow totals for the Highlands, Southern Shenandoah and then areas closer to Harrisonburg, Virginia. 

That's where the air will be coldest as well. While some snowflakes may mix in in Blacksburg, Roanoke and Lynchburg Saturday afternoon, we don't anticipate much in the way of accumulation. 


Most of what we see closer to the NC-VA line will be in the form of rain.

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