Sun-Mon Winter Storm: First look at snow totals in Virginia

A slight shift in storm track could mean minor tweaks to initial forecast.

By Chris Michaels - Meteorologist

ROANOKE, Va. - As we've said for days now, a winter storm is likely for parts of our region. The closer we get to the event, the more we can fine-tune the forecast (ie. timing, impacts, etc). 

As of Thursday afternoon, this is our first look at snow totals across the area for Sunday-Monday (see above). It's important to note the sharp cutoff in totals north of 460. A slight shift of 50 miles in the storm track could easily change the forecast that we currently have in place. 

Nonetheless, the farther south of 460 you go, the more and more likely it is that we'll be dealing with a significant winter storm Sunday into Monday. 

Our storm of interest is on land in California, producing flash flooding near areas scarred by the Woolsey Fire in southern California weeks ago. 

Weather balloons launched into the system feed data into forecast models, which we use as guidance when making a forecast. The more accurate the data, the better and more fine-tuned the forecast becomes. 

We still have ample time before we see this storm. Friday and Saturday will be dry, which is great news for Christmas tree lightings in Roanoke and Blacksburg. 

Areas south of 460 (NRV, Mountain Empire and even Southside) will likely see snow/a brief wintry mix early Sunday morning. As we make our way through the day Sunday, we'll notice the batch of snow moving farther north. 

WHAT DO WE DO?

1. Make a plan. There will likely be some school districts closed/delayed Monday morning. Have a plan for a sitter, if you still need to work. 

2. Some power outages may be possible, especially if you're close to the 12"+ area on our map. Gas up the generator, just in case. 

3. If you don't have groceries to last you through Tuesday, you might want to take care of that.

4. Have the kids' snow gear out! Where we see accumulating snow, it will likely be that heavier, wetter type of snow. Good for snowballs, snowmen and sledding!

5. That heavy, wet snow is not good for the elderly, and those who suffer with heart, lung or back problems. Make sure you have someone nearby who can help you shovel/snowblow the snow, if you're in one of the harder-hit areas. 

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