Snow, freezing rain and sleet expected late Saturday through Sunday night, with a slight chance of snow Monday morning
That dreaded four-letter word — snow — is in the weekend forecast, but how much of it we get depends upon any shifts in the snow-rain line that is expected to hover over the Tri-City area.
The National Weather Service is predicting snowfall for parts of Virginia beginning Saturday afternoon and evening, with the bulk of the precipitation coming on Sunday. What falls from the sky, though, remains to be seen.
“We’re expecting a little bit of snow and mixed precipitation to begin late Saturday,” said Mike Rusnak, a NWS meteorologist in Wakefield.
Snow is expected to fall after 1 p.m. Saturday, but the NWS only is putting a 20-percent chance of it during daylight hours. The precipitation chance increases after dark to 80 percent as the storm moves closer. Snow will mix with freezing rain until 4 a.m. Sunday, then sleet will be added to the mix to fall throughout Sunday into evening, then all snow is forecast before the storm tapers off. Total precipitation accumulation is likely to be around 1.5-2 inches.
There still is a 30-percent chance of snow Monday morning.
The weekend’s expected snow total is minor compared to what the area got early last month, but that does not make expected conditions any less dangerous.
“We won’t see not as much snow, but mixed precipitation can make things just as sloppy,” Rusnak said. Also, post-storm temperatures are not expected to climb out of the 30s for the next week.
“It’s going to be cold to start the week,” Rusnak said, “dry but cold.”
The Virginia Department of Transportation already has begun pre-treating area roadways ahead of the weekend storm.
The area definitely has some recent history with January snowfall. 2018 was only a few days old when 3-5 inches of snow fell in the immediate Tri-Cities and as much as 9 inches came down in outlying areas. That storm was responsible for one area death, when a child sledding in the Chester area slid into the path of a pick-up truck and was killed.
By Bill Atkinson