RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – The storm system we are tracking for the end of this week is currently moving through the Southwest U.S. toward the Heartland. There are actually two pieces to this system that will merge over the Southern Plains Thursday.
The first piece is a potent upper low coming from southern California (it moved onshore from the Pacific earlier this week). You can see the closed low in the bottom left of this image showing the upper-level wind pattern.
The second piece is already happening in the Southern Plains from Gulf moisture overspreading a cold air-mass. Here’s what the radar looks like at mid-day Wednesday (blues indicate snow, pinks a winter mix, and green either wet snow or rain).
This will become a significant Winter Storm for many states there, and could be an ice system for part of the Commonwealth Friday into early Saturday.
The upper low will merge with the system already in the Heartland Thursday, picking up its moisture and tapping into its energy. It will intensify and track eastward.
The storm system will spread rain into southwest Virginia Friday, with rain chances increasing Friday later afternoon and night. Although light freezing drizzle is possible early Friday morning, I am more concerned about Friday night into pre-dawn Saturday. A period of light freezing rain will be possible in the metro area overnight Friday into early Saturday, with a greater threat for significant icing to our north and west.
Rain showers will continue on Saturday, with the highest rain totals across the southern and southeastern parts of the state (about an inch to an inch and a quarter of rainfall looks feasible). This system will exit our area Saturday evening.
In any case, if you have travel plans along I-81 anytime from Friday morning through Saturday, you should prepare to encounter ice on your drive.
Stay with CBS 6, we’ll keep you ahead of the storm.