Heads up! Powerful storm to bring rain, freezing rain late Wednesday and Thursday

Freezing rain will fall in parts of the area during the morning commute Thursday

ROANOKE, Va. – A strong storm system has brought everything from blizzard conditions to the northern Plains to tornadoes in the Deep South. For us, it brings rain and freezing rain into the mix.

Winter weather alerts have been issued ahead of the storm’s arrival.

It starts as mostly rain late Wednesday into Wednesday evening, though some ridge lines north of the Roanoke Valley will start to pick up on freezing rain at night.

FutureTracker - 7 p.m. Wednesday

As colder air continues to get forced farther south, freezing rain will become possible for most of us along and north of US 460 during the Thursday morning commute.

FutureTracker - 7 a.m. Thursday

It all comes down to one degree. Some places may only drop to 33°, while others dip to 32° or 31° at times.

While not a crippling ice storm, this will be inconvenient to some during the morning and midday commutes Thursday.

The hope is that with temperatures bordering on 32°, most ice will stick to elevated surfaces and not so much to the roads. We’ll err on the side of caution.

Road condition forecast for Thursday, 12/15/2022

The best chance for a tenth of an inch of ice or more lies in the higher elevations of the Roanoke Valley (Bent Mountain/Catawba) as well as areas north of US 460 (parts of Rockbridge, Amherst, Nelson, Alleghany, Bath and Highland Counties).

Ice accumulation forecast for Thursday, 12/15/2022

Heading into the afternoon, the storm’s energy gets transferred to the coast. This means that precipitation will wind down as temperatures rise above freezing (but not by much).

FutureTracker - 3 p.m. Thursday

Heading into the weekend, we’ll be cold (shocker, right?). High temperatures will be in the 40s to near 50° Friday but even colder into the weekend.

Weekend forecast through Sunday, 12/18/2022

The storm track stays suppressed to the south throughout the weekend.

Cold weather is here to stay - if not intensify - leading up to Christmas. It appears as though there will be a storm system nearby around the 23rd.

Climate Prediction Center outlook from December 21 to December 27

As for what that means for us specifically, it’s far too soon to speculate.

Download our free weather app for frequent updates.

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.