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Plan ahead! High impact winter storm to bring snow, wintry mix to Virginia Sunday

Significant snow totals and mixed precipitation produce messy road conditions and possible power outages

ROANOKE, Va. – For the last several days, we’ve been keeping track of a winter storm that will arrive Sunday (1/16/2022). Below, we break down what we know and what new information we’ll be putting out in the next day.

Winter Storm

Cold air and a strong storm digging south is the recipe for a high impact winter storm. While no two storms are identical, this could wind up being the most impactful storm we’ve had since December of 2018.

Precipitation starts as all snow first thing Sunday morning, expanding from south to north. Snow will fall heavily at times, quickly making the roads a mess.

Significant winter storm to move in Sunday

As we head into the afternoon, we’ll watch a layer of “warm” air above the surface try to creep in. If that layer is small, we get sleet to compact the snow that’s fallen. If that layer is thicker, freezing rain falls and leaves a layer of ice on top of the snowpack.

Where exactly that happens is a game of 25-50 miles.

For now, those of us along and west of the Blue Ridge Parkway stand the best chance of mostly/all snow throughout the day Sunday. The farther south and east you go, the more mixing you will likely see heading into Sunday afternoon and evening.

Types of precipitation expected Sunday

As we head into Sunday night and Monday morning, moisture wraps around our storm. Any additional snow mostly targets the west slopes, but snow showers do have the chance to make it farther east of that. More importantly, it will be windy at times and very cold.

Winter storm early Monday morning, 1/17/2022

Suffice to say, significant snow accumulations are likely across the area Sunday. Below are the odds of 1″, 3″, 6″ and 12″ of snow. Double digit snow totals are not out of the question for those of us west of the Parkway.

Snow probabilities for Sunday to early Monday (1/16 to 1/17/2022)

What matters most (more than numbers) is the impact this storm will have. As mentioned, the roads will be a mess Sunday into Monday. As the wind cranks around the system, power outages will become a concern and could last into/beyond Monday.

Storm impacts for Sunday - Monday

First call snow/sleet and ice maps will come out later in the day Thursday. Download our app to get alerted to these and all updates regarding the forecast for Sunday and Monday.

More Immediate Forecast

Thursday starts cold, but not as cold as the previous mornings. Clouds increase ahead of a much weaker system. High temperatures, however, will still make their way into the 40s to near 50°.

High temperature forecast for Thursday, 1/13/2022

This weaker system is moisture-starved, but still will kick up snow showers on the west-facing slopes late Thursday through early Friday.

West-slope snow expected late Thursday into early Friday

Most of us have nothing to worry about with this one.


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.