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Yuck! Multiple rounds of winter weather expected over the next week

The Highlands see it Wednesday night. We all get it in some form by Thursday night.

FutureTracker - Thursday night
FutureTracker - Thursday night

ROANOKE, Va. – Hope you enjoyed Tuesday’s 50s and 60s. We won’t see weather like that for quite some time, as we’re stuck in quite the repetitive pattern moving forward.

Part 1 - Highlands

Starting with Wednesday evening and Wednesday night, there will be a boundary nearby that sets off a round of wintry precipitation in areas near and north of I-64. Be alert for slick spots from Covington and Lexington and points north. Snow is more likely in Pocahontas, Bath and Highland Counties, with an icy mix possible in Alleghany and Rockbridge Counties.

FutureTracker - midnight Wednesday into Thursday
FutureTracker - midnight Wednesday into Thursday

Part 2 - Everywhere Else

We’ll see a break in the action Thursday morning through at least midday Thursday. As another storm system moves in, we may see things start out as plain rain near and south of US 460 late in the afternoon.

FutureTracker - Thursday afternoon
FutureTracker - Thursday afternoon

After that is when things start to get tricky. Colder air is wedged in at the surface, but it’s what’s going on a few thousand feet above us that’s key. If the temperature is 32° or below up top, we get more snow. If the temperature is 33° or above up top, then we see a mix of freezing rain and sleet develop.

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Precipitation types based on air temperature
Precipitation types based on air temperature

What you see all comes down to one degree, and that makes this forecast so challenging.

Totals

Having said that, the best chance for more snow is going to be farther north. This is toward Alleghany, Rockbridge, Bath, Highland and northern parts of Botetourt, Amherst and Nelson Counties. Where we could see snow before changing to a wintry mix is areas in the light blue. This is basically the 460 corridor - from Blacksburg to Roanoke/Salem to Lynchburg and Appomattox. This part of the area is where the forecast is most subject to change, due to temperature differences above us (as mentioned before).

Snow accumulation forecast for Thursday night into Friday morning as of Wednesday, 2/10/2021
Snow accumulation forecast for Thursday night into Friday morning as of Wednesday, 2/10/2021

Farther south of that, you see less snow. However, you make up for it with more rain and ice potential. There may be some spots that see a quarter of an inch or more of ice. If that’s the case, we could see some sporadic power outages.

Ice accumulation for Thursday to Friday morning as of Wednesday, 2/10/2021
Ice accumulation for Thursday to Friday morning as of Wednesday, 2/10/2021

Impacts

While the numbers may change due to temperature differences above us, the impacts remain the same. The roads are going to get messy area-wide Thursday evening into Friday morning. Schedule changes are likely, and power outages are possible. Strong winds, however, are not likely with this particular storm.

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Storm threats - Thursday (2/11) to Friday (2/12)
Storm threats - Thursday (2/11) to Friday (2/12)

The Pattern Beyond

We get a break Friday afternoon, but there are indications of another rain/freezing rain mix coming our way Saturday and perhaps next Tuesday as well. We’re sandwiched in between Arctic air to the west and mild air offshore.

Climate Prediction Center 6-10 day outlook through 2/19/2021
Climate Prediction Center 6-10 day outlook through 2/19/2021

This provides a boundary for more storm systems to develop, which will keep things active through next week. Now is the best time to download our app and stay alert to the changing forecasts.


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