The Week Ahead: Tracking potential wintry weather followed by Arctic blast for Christmas

This Christmas weekend could be the coldest since the late 1980s.

What we're tracking leading up to Christmas - 2022

ROANOKE, Va. – Normally when we write these articles, we go in chronological order.

We’re going to flip-flop things to start with our late week weather. We’ll then back track to show you how Sunday’s weather is shaping up.

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Late Week Winter Weather Threat

Late in the week, we’ll be tracking a pair of low pressure systems.

The first is going to be one riding along the coast into some marginally cold air. Current forecast data shows this as moisture overrunning that cooler air, resulting in a mix of wintry precipitation and rain Thursday morning.

The best chance of ice/sleet accumulation appears to be along and to the west of the Parkway. More to come as we get closer to this storm.

Tracking rain and wintry mix Thursday morning, 12/22/2022

The stronger area of low pressure arrives Friday morning.

With it, we see the potential for some snow first thing in the morning. Most of this would fall along and to the west of the Parkway.

Tracking potential for rain and snow on Friday morning, 12/23/2022

How much are we looking at?

When looking at probabilities, an inch is possible in some areas west of the Parkway. Anything more than that will fall on the west-facing slopes. This doesn’t have the makings of a huge, plowable snow.

Snow probabilities for Friday, 12/23/2022

That said, this could still be impactful. Keep reading!

Christmas Weekend Cold Blast

While snow gets all the hype and attention, our cold blast is not to be slept on.

Temperatures will drop dramatically throughout the day Friday, meaning any little bit of rain or snow that falls could quickly turn slick on the roads during the daytime and evening hours.

The wind will also be a factor. Early indications show gusts of 30 to 50 mph, which could lead to occasional power outages. This is important, because the Christmas weekend forecast looks frigid.

Bitter cold air arrives in time for Friday afternoon and Christmas weekend

Christmas Eve starts in the single digits and teens with highs only reaching the 20s.

High temperature forecast for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

This holiday weekend could wind up being the coldest since 1989.

Stay up to date on this complicated forecast by downloading our weather app.

Immediate Forecast

Focusing on the more immediate forecast, Sunday appears to be an appetizer to this week’s main event.

It’ll be noticeably colder Sunday, as highs mainly reach the 30s. We’ll see more clouds and occasional flurries in the mountains, while more sun breaks out farther east of the Parkway.

High temperature forecast for Sunday, 12/18/2022

It’ll be pretty gusty at times with peak gusts of 20-30 mph in the NRV, Roanoke Valley and Highlands.

Peak wind gusts for Sunday, 12/18/2022

Expect morning lows in the teens and 20s first thing Monday.

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.

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