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WEATHER: Best rain since October on the way tonight

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – A strong storm system tracking eastward Thursday will bring central Virginia our best rainfall since just before Halloween. Expected rainfall from tonight’s storm system will range from a quarter-of-an-inch to near an inch in most of our area. This will be the most rainfall from a single storm system for Richmond (and most of central Virginia) since October 28 through 30, when Richmond International Airport (RIC) reported 2.66″ over those three days. On the 30th alone, 0.49″ was reported, and that’s more than we’ve had on a single day since then to date.  December 16-17 produced 0.26″ at RIC, almost as much rainfall as we picked up in the entire month of November (0.27″).

I expect the rain to reach Richmond between 7-8 p.m., with our heaviest rainfall likely between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. Some thunderstorms could be embedded in the line just ahead of the cold front overnight, producing stronger wind gusts (45-55 mph) and lightning. If you have holiday decorations outdoors that are light-weight or not anchored down, you should consider taking them down through Friday or securing them a little tighter.

The strong cold front linked to this storm system will sweep through the I-95 corridor by 3 a.m., bringing windy and colder conditions to the Commonwealth Friday. With consistent wind gusts of 25 to 35 mph Friday and colder air in the 40s, wind chills will  be in the 30s during the day.

If you are traveling tonight through Saturday morning through southwest Virginia, be prepared to encounter the strongest winds in that higher terrain and along ridge-tops. This will impact I-81 and I-64 there with High Wind Warnings and Wind Advisories posted.

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West Virginia and some of the mountains of southwest Virginia could receive several inches of snow from this system, so be prepared to travel into snow cover Friday if you’re heading due west or southwest. Higher snowfall totals are likely in West Virginia, with up to a foot in the highest elevations.

CLICK HERE for a summary of snowfall reports from this snow-producing system in the Plains and Midwest.

Stay with CBS 6, we’ll keep you ahead of the storm.

Meteorologist Carrie Rose
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