Can heavy rains ease the pain of snow?

Weather outlook for Friday. (Courtesy of The Weather Channel)

Rain, some of it heavy at times, is forecast to start falling about 6 a.m. Friday and start eating away at the piles of frozen snow that still cover much of our landscape.

Floyd County public schools remain closed Thursday — the fourth straight day — along with many other localities in Southwestern Virginia.

With temperatures expected just above freezing in still dark conditions at that time could also leave some spotty ice and hazardous conditions until the thermometer starts climbing into the 40s by early evening Friday and into the higher 40s by Saturday with more rain.

Some forecasts say the rain could be more than two inches.

Then the winter wonderland of snow will turn into a sloppy, muddy mess with some flash flooding possible.  Morning showers on Sunday begins a three-day run of sunny weather until showers return on Thursday and Friday next week before a chance of snow showers on Christmas Eve and a rainy-snowy mix on Christmas.

With most areas of closing on record amounts of rainfall for the year, this weekend could push Floyd County and other localities into new highest totals.

Writes Roanoke Times weather guru Kevin Myatt:

Snowpack does odd things to rainfall that can both limit and exacerbate flooding potential. The limiting factor is that if temperatures are only a few degrees above freezing, melting isn’t rapid, and the snowpack can actually absorb the rainfall like a sponge for a while, creating a slushy mess everywhere but keeping a good bit of it from running off into creeks and rivers, at least immediately. But milder temperatures moving toward 50, as will likely happen from Roanoke east and southeast by Saturday, can bring on rapid snowmelt in addition to falling rain, and this can lead to flooding concerns on streams and rivers that are taking on not only the water that is falling at the time, but that which fell last weekend in snowflakes. Snow piles may also be blocking drainages, and in urban areas, more water will be funneled into cleared streets from snow covered properties surrounding.

So dreams of a White Christmas could turn into a nightmare of mud and mess.

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© 2021 Blue Ridge Muse