A new year, another winter storm, more ice

The first snowfall of 2019 — and the second of this winter — could also bring a mix of sleet and freezing rain to Floyd County as part of an arc that includes the southern short of Smith Mountain Lake, Rocky Mount, Wytheville and areas south.

After a period of mild snow Saturday afternoon and evening, the ice could arrive in the wee morning hours of Sunday, followed by a heavier batch of snow during the day, into the evening and into Monday, says the National Weather Service in Blacksburg.

The official Winter Storm Watch:

…WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM SATURDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH SUNDAY EVENING… * WHAT…Heavy snow with sleet possible. Total combined snow and sleet accumulations of 4 to 6 inches possible. * WHERE…Much of the New River Valley, Roanoke County eastward to the central Virginia Piedmont. * WHEN…From Saturday afternoon through Sunday evening. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Plan on slippery and snow covered road conditions especially Saturday night into Sunday. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A Winter Storm Watch means there is potential for significant snow, sleet or ice accumulations that may impact travel. Continue to monitor the latest forecasts.

More Information

…Snow to wintry mix expected this weekend… .A storm system moving out of the mid-Mississippi Valley will affect a large part of the area with wintry weather, beginning Saturday and lasting into early Sunday night. Areas north of Route 460 are expected to see predominantly snow, with snow mixing with sleet and freezing rain further south. Greatest impact is expected Saturday night into Sunday morning. Wintry weather begins to taper off by Sunday evening.

Adds Roanoke Times weather guru Kevin Myatt:

It appears most locations north of the U.S. 460 corridor, basically Craig, most of Botetourt County, northern Bedford county, Amherst County and northward, are likely to stay all snow. About a 30-mile wide zone along U.S. 460 — Bluefield to Blacksburg/Christiansburg to Roanoke, Bedford and Lynchburg, 15 miles north and south — are in a question-mark area where there may be some sleet mixing for a while but probably won’t entirely go over to sleet and freezing rain for an extended time. South of there, say from about the southern shore of Smith Mountain Lake to Rocky Mount to Floyd to Wytheville and southward, there very likely will be a period of sleet and possibly some freezing rain as well early Sunday, though there may well be substantial snowfall both before and after the mixing.

Precipitation will likely go back to snow during the day Sunday in the areas that mix or change, as colder air is again pulled southward on the backside of a developing coastal surface low.

There may be yet a third wave of snow with a trailing upper-level low Sunday evening into early Monday, though this is iffy. It probably wouldn’t add more than another inch to what has already accumulated, but sometimes these can be a little tricky.

As happens so often in storm forecasting, how much snow falls depends what “band” of the stuff hits the area where we live.

The one thing we know is that things will get nasty for Saturday, Sunday and perhaps early Monday.  What we don’t know if how much and how bad.

A developing story  We try to stay on top of it and update as needed.

Let’s be careful out there.

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© 2021 Blue Ridge Muse