Heads up! Weekend winter storm chance increasing following calm stretch of weather

It’s too soon to throw out exact totals, but Sunday’s weather looks disruptive across much of the area.

We have a few days of relatively calm weather before the potential for a winter storm.

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We have a few days of relatively calm weather before the potential for a winter storm. We’ll break that potential down first and then get to the more immediate forecast.

Potential Winter Storm

As we’ve said since this past weekend, the weekend of the 15th and 16th bears watching. The pattern has always been favorable for wintry weather. In recent forecast data, that’s become more evident for Sunday. Saturday looks dry.

With cold air in place, forecast data now shows a stronger system diving farther south. Those of you who’ve lived here long enough know that those kinds of storms tend to be more impactful. The reason for that is the farther south you go, the more moisture you get thrown in our direction.

Winter storm setup for Sunday, 1/16/2022

This storm is still thousands of miles away, so there’s time for us to iron out timing, totals, precipitation types, etc. All of that depends on this storm’s strength, location and how fast it moves.

When looking at a group of forecast data (called ensembles), plowable snow looks likely. The one thing that could cut into snow totals (at least in the eastern half of the area) is any sort of mixed precipitation like sleet or freezing rain late Sunday. That, in my opinion, is worse than snow, so we’ll be sure to keep an eye on that potential.

Snow probabilities for Sunday into early Monday

There’s no sense in us putting out an official snow map that we know is going to change for a storm five days away. Be skeptical of the raw model output you’ll likely see posted to social media. Weather balloons go into this storm Thursday. That’s when we should start to learn even more about it.

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Immediate Forecast

The rest of this week is relatively calm. After another very cold start to Wednesday morning, a breeze from the west and southwest will give our temperatures a nudge. Highs reach the upper 40s and lower 50s area-wide.

High temperature forecast for Wednesday, 1/12/2022

Clouds increase Thursday ahead of a much weaker system. This one has a lot less moisture than the Sunday storm. Any snow will mainly target our west-facing slopes Thursday night.

FutureTracker snowfall through Friday morning, 1/14/2022

We’re left dry and seasonable Friday before a cloudy and cold Saturday.

About the Author:

Meteorologist Chris Michaels is an American Meteorological Society (AMS) Certified Broadcaster, forecasting weather conditions in southwest Virginia on WSLS 10 News from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. weekdays on Virginia Today.