Our in-house computer model just released data through Sunday afternoon, and it shows what most of the medium range models have been suggesting all week: a wintry mess has its sights set on Virginia.
The series of images below are from 3-hour intervals, beginning at 7 AM Sunday and ending at 4 PM Sunday. The first image at 7 AM shows the precipitation beginning as snow to the north and a mix (in pink) of likely sleet and snow. Don't get hung up on the areas to the south that look dry. This model, like all models, isn't perfect, and there could easily be precip there.
The next image taken at 10 AM, shows heavier precip in all areas, likely a sleet and freezing rain mix in the Richmond Metro, with sleet, snow, and freezing rain farther northwest. Snow will likely continue to be the primary mode across northwest Virginia.
At 1 PM, a good part of the metro is still seeing freezing rain, which I believe will verify. Snow should be still falling across far northern Virginia, with a messy mix of sleet, snow, and freezing rain across western Virginia.
The final image below shows heavy rain across much of central and eastern Virginia, with mixed precipitation (likely freezing rain and a little sleet) in the areas in pink. I actually think we could still be seeing freezing rain farther southeast than the model is showing at 4 PM.
Accumulations of snow and ice should cause significant travel difficulties across roughly the western half of the state, and I winter storm watch to be issued for a large part of Virginia on Friday, including the Richmond Metro Area. A good chunk of that watch will probably be converted to an ice storm warning and/or winter storm warning, as I believe either criteria will be met. I'll have more updates in later posts and on my facebook page.
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