RICHMOND, Va. -- The pieces are coming together for a strong storm near the area Sunday into Monday. Energy and moisture from near California and in the southern Plains will push eastward over the next couple of days. Our local weather will stay dry Friday and Saturday.
Snow will move into southwestern Virginia late Saturday night into Sunday morning. The snow will be fighting a lot of dry air across central and northern Virginia, and the snow may not fall in the metro until the afternoon. The latest runs of computer models are shifting the storm a little farther south. This would mean less snow well north of I-64 and heavy snow for southwestern Virginia. Click here to see the latest winter weather alerts.
As mentioned last Sunday, this storm has a few different possible tracks. Now that the storm is developing across the southern Plains, more data is being fed into the computer models, which will help narrow down the possibilities.
Snow should spread into southwestern Virginia late Saturday night into Sunday morning. The snow will be fighting dry air as it tracks to the northeast. Snow may not fall in the metro until mid-afternoon or later.
The storm track and the dry air across northern Virginia will produce a sharp cutoff in the snow well north of I-64, but periods of heavy snow (and some mix) will continue for areas like Danville westward into the Virginia panhandle.
Coastal areas and southeastern Virginia will likely have rainy conditions with just the chance of some mix. As some warmer air gets infused into the system, the metro will see the potential for some wintry mix. The mix will be more likely south of Richmond.
This wintry mix will be in the form of some sleet (ice pellets) and possibly freezing rain (liquid rain freezing on impact with the cold ground).
Snowfall accumulations will be highest in southwestern Virginia. In central Virginia, the higher totals will be south of I-64 and west of I-85. Please keep in mind, these totals will be adjusted more as the storm gets closer.
Here are the current probabilities of accumulation for Richmond.
(Note for those who look at snow maps on the internet: most of those maps do not differentiate between snow, sleet and freezing rain. Rather than a total "snowfall", it is a total of all the "frozen precipitation", so a 6" total isn't necessarily accurate.)
With the storm not arriving until Sunday, the storm track will get refined some more over the next 48 hours. Any decent shift in the track means the snow forecast bands will shift a bit. If the storm tracks even farther south, snow may stay completely south of Richmond and I-64. If the storm tracks a little farther north, that means snow will reach farther north of I-64.
We will continue to have updates to the forecast here.
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A big wildcard for snow totals will be the amount of wintry mix that occurs. Sleet (ice pellets) and freezing rain (liquid rain freezing upon impact with the ground) will eat away at the snow totals.