Many people have asked, when is it going to get cold? When is it going to snow?
These next ten days are for them.
A much more active pattern is ahead through Jan 3, with 4 opportunities for significant precipitation. The best thing to come out of this will be a dent in the drought over our part of Virginia. And there is a legitimate chance of measurable snow in at least two of these storms for Greater Lynchburg and Southside Virginia.
These are quick outlooks and discussions. Details for any one specific storm will need to wait about 24-36 hours ahead of each storm. Focus here is on Greater Lynchburg and Southside Virginia.
Light rain, mixing with a little sleet toward Lynchburg. Travel will probably not be impacted due to the timing of the precipitation. Perhaps a few snowflakes mixed in, but doubtful they will have much impact. Expect an onset of precipitation during the afternoon and ending after midnight. Temperatures largely in the 30s to lower 40s while precipitation is falling. Amount of rain between 0.10″ and 0.33″.
Christmas Day still looks dry with sun and clouds and highs in the 40s.
December 26 – Potential High Impact Event for Northwestern Virginia
Large storm with a dramatic difference in precipitation type from northwest to southeast. Feeling pretty good that this is all rain for Southside Virginia, but Lynchburg and areas to the north/west, many options are still at play. Early guess is a brief period of (non-accumulating) snow and ice at the onset shortly before daybreak, then changing to rain or ice. Not a classic ice storm set up, but still could create marginal travel issues. However, a short drive toward northern Virginia and the lower Shenandoah Valley could bring a few (perhaps several) inches of snow. Total liquid equivalent (rain or melted snow) between 0.75″ and 1.25″.
Quick-moving system putting down liquid equivalent 0.10″ to 0.33″. Early guess is rain, but confidence is not very high. Just as plausible to squeeze out a couple of inches of snow, but not convinced of that… yet. Much better shot a couple of inches of snow west of I-81.
Very cold in the wake of the Dec 29 system. At this time, it still looks dry and cold for Dec 30-31. But timing really becomes an issue… because…
At this time, this is the storm that has the best chance of bringing plowable snow for Central and Southside Virginia. Most early indications are that the center passes to the south of the VA/NC state line, keeping us in the deeper cold air (meaning less chance for ice). To emphasize, we are still talking something 10 days out, but there have been reasonably consistent signals that there is something cold and significant out there for the first couple of days of the new year.
And probably cold for a few days in the wake of whatever comes to pass in this storm. By “cold”… we mean highs in the 30s to around 40. Lows in the teens to 20s (5 to 10 degrees below normal).
To emphasize, all of this is just an outlook. Expect changes to the forecast as time goes on the in the coming several days, but colder and wetter certainly are the themes for the next 10 days, especially compared to where we have been so far in December.