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Snow continuing into the evening

Here is the latest:
Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 10:10 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 16, 2022 at 4:28 PM EST
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(WHSV) - The third snowstorm of the season is here and is making a big impact across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. From heavy rain, to snow and ice across several states. A FIRST ALERT WEATHER DAY remains for Sunday and Monday due to icy and messy roads.

SUNDAY AFTERNOON: Snow continues to pick up across the area. The heaviest of snow will begin to arrive by 4pm. Temperatures stay very cold but will begin to rise into the 20s. A dry, fluffy snow continues, roads continue to deteriorate.

SUNDAY EVENING/OVERNIGHT: A steady snow will continue as warmer air aloft creeps into the area. Very cold with temperatures rising through the 20s to around 30 degrees by midnight. The warm nose of air will look to change steady snow to sleet/freezing rain to areas especially east of I-81. Periods of sleet/freezing rain will be limited, still mainly snow coming down. Snow begins to ease by midnight with a few lingering flurries into the overnight. Wind continues to increase, gusting up to 35 mph in the Valley and 40-45 mph across West Virginia and the Alleghenies. Temperatures remaining around 30 degrees. Wind chills in the single digits to teens with roads a complete icy mess.

MONDAY: Roads very hazardous and icy for the morning. Temperatures will be steady in the upper 20s to low 30s as we’ll see a few peaks of sunshine, but mainly staying cloudy. Upslope snow showers will continue in the Alleghenies with blowing flurries elsewhere in West Virginia. Gusty winds throughout the day of up to 40 mph in the Valley, 45-50 mph in West Virginia and the Alleghenies. Melting will be very limited for the day.

The good thing about this storm is precipitation type is still not much of an issue. This is going to be all snow with some sleet/icing at the end of the system briefly as far west as I-81. This will continue to be a very cold event. The colder the temperature, the drier the snow. So this storm will be a dry, fluffy snow. Not a wet and heavy snow. This also limits power outages and can be much easier to shovel.

Wind: Winds will be increasing into the evening and overnight, sustained at 10-25 mph. Gusts of up to 35-40 mph for the Valley especially overnight, more towards 40-45 mph across West Virginia and the Alleghenies.

Roads: Crews have been able to pre-treat roads. The issue comes when temperatures are in the low to mid 20s and any amount of snow. It could be a dusting of snow but that falling with a temperature in the low 20s will quickly turn to ice. Temperatures Sunday evening will be in the mid to upper 20s, so roads will turn icy fast after sunset once the snow starts. Travel is strongly discouraged during the storm Sunday evening and Sunday night. Roads will be icy and slick Monday morning even after the snow stops. Crews will be out treating and clearing roads.

HOW MUCH SNOW

What will lead to lower snowfall totals: It’s not that an eastern track will be the sole reason of less snow. A track more along the coast would lead to the heaviest band of moisture setting up east of the Blue Ridge, but would also give us the greater potential for dry air to work in about midway through the storm. This will still lead to snow, but a shorter duration and lower snowfall totals. This is our expected scenario.

Not many changes here. Plenty of snow for our area.
Not many changes here. Plenty of snow for our area.(WHSV)

We are still expecting 4-8″ of snow across the areas north of Augusta County. 5-10″ of snow across Augusta County, Staunton and Waynesboro with possible higher totals for the Blue Ridge. 3-6″ of snow east of the Blue Ridge as more sleet/ice will filter in. A dry slot will move in Sunday evening and limit moisture in the mid to upper levels of the atmosphere. Basically shutting down the snow.

For the Alleghenies, snowfall of 8-12″ expected with Sunday’s storm but upslope snow will continue through Monday. Total from Sunday and Monday likely 12-18″ for the Alleghenies.

WHAT TO KNOW

When we’re looking at the temperatures in the low 20s, it’s not going to take as much moisture to lead to several inches of snow. Let’s say we are looking at 1/2″ of moisture. At a temperature of 18°/19° degrees, that can equate to 10″ of snow.

If we take that same 1/2″ liquid and temperatures are at 25°, that would equate to about 7″ of snow.

So amount of moisture, track, how much dry air and temperatures will be the big factors as to how much snow. The limiting factor with this storm is too much dry air working in.

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