Saturday system starts as a wintry mix west, with soaking rain on the way to central Virginia
Saturday morning update:
The farther west of Richmond you are, you may get some wet snow and sleet mixed in with your rain this morning, but you’ll change over to just rain by Noon with temperatures staying above freezing.
Scattered light rain and mist will continue in central Virginia through early afternoon, with a mix of snow and sleet in the mountains of western Virginia. West is where a winter weather advisory is in effect through tonight.
Check out the Saturday morning view from near Staunton on I-81 from this VDOT 511 camera:
The snow and sleet will change to freezing rain later this afternoon and then rain tonight.
Soaking rain will overspread all of Virginia by this afternoon. I expect the heaviest rain in central Virginia between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. It looks like central Virginia will receive between a half-inch to an inch of rainfall accumulation from this storm system.
Highs will stay in the 40s across central Virginia with the cloudy and wet conditions.
Friday evening update:
The previous post from Wednesday is still on track. When the precipitation arrives during the morning into the afternoon, it will be all rain in far southeastern Virginia. A mix of sleet and snow will be possible in the Richmond metro area before it changes to rain. North and west of Richmond will see some mixed precipitation (snow, sleet and perhaps freezing rain) before changing to rain later in the afternoon.
On the maps, blue denotes snow, purple/magenta is a mix, green is rain, and yellow is heavy rainfall.
The western third of the state, closer to I-81, will see snow/sleet/freezing rain for the majority of the day before changing to rain during the evening. There is a winter weather advisory in effect for that area. An accumulation of sleet and snow may total up to two inches in the higher elevations. Lower elevations could see a minor snow and ice accumulation.
Previous Wednesday post:
A storm system will move through the southern Plains on Friday and then approach our area Friday night into Saturday.
We will see rain by late Saturday afternoon, which will last into Saturday night. However, the one wild card with this system will be the temperatures for the first half of Saturday.
Daybreak lows will drop into the lower 30s, and be hard-pressed to jump during the day. A northeasterly wind will bring in cold air from the northeastern United States, and this cold air will “dam” up against the mountains. When this happens, the cold air stays locked in place and temperatures are stubborn to rise.
During the first few hours of the precipitation, there is the potential for some wintry weather. Different computer models are treating the level of cold air differently. This precipitation may start as some snow or sleet, or perhaps freezing rain. A combination of all three is possible before temperatures warm up.
Once it warms up, we will see rain Saturday evening into Saturday night. The precipitation will exit around daybreak Sunday. It will be cold enough as the system departs that we could see some wet snow flakes at the very end of the precipitation. Air and ground temperatures will be above freezing, so there will not be any accumulations.
We will continue to update you as the storm gets closer.
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