Sleet and Freezing Rain Expected

All areas are under a Winter Weather Advisory tonight and tomorrow.  This means hazardous traveling conditions are expected, generally from sleet and freezing rain.

Clouds increasing this evening, and a light mix of wintry precipitation develops between midnight and daybreak.

In Central Virginia, light precipitation breaks out in the form of sleet and snow, then transitions to sleet and freezing rain during the day.  Most of the precipitation will be light, but a few heavier pockets of sleet and freezing rain will move through before coming to an end late in the day.  Up to quarter-inch of an icy mix is expected, with travel likely to be impacted tomorrow morning.  Roadways are not expected to become as icy as a skating rink, but bridges and overpasses are at greatest risk for developing some icy areas.

For Southside Virginia, light precipitation starts in the form of sleet and freezing rain, but transitions to all rain in the afternoon before ending by dusk.  Up to a quarter-inch of ice is also expected here, with the greatest threat to traveling found on bridges and overpasses.

For the Blue Ridge Parkway and areas westward into Roanoke, Lexington, and the New River Valley, precipitation will begin as a snow and sleet mix, then transition to sleet and freezing rain.  The precipitation will hold as freezing rain well into the afternoon, likely putting a glaze on elevated surfaces, such as trees and power lines.

Highest elevations, near the Blue Ridge Parkway and Bent Mountain, will have the greatest  risk of downed trees and power lines.  While this does not appear to be a crippling ice storm, a few downed trees are expected at these elevations.

Temperatures tonight will be in the upper 20s to around 30, which is enough below freezing to allow ice to form on the roads, but during the day time, and in well-traveled areas, the road surfaces may catch just enough warmth to allow for less-hazardous travel, and air temperatures will creep to around 33-34 degrees. However, once the sun sets Friday night, the threat for icing of wet surfaces will return.

Another surge of rain pushes in Saturday morning and continues through late Saturday afternoon.  While most of this is expected to be rain, temperatures will be close enough to freezing for possible freezing rain.  Like Friday, the greatest threat for icing of surfaces will be along the Blue Ridge Parkway and areas to the west, where up to a half-inch of ice is possible on those elevated surfaces.  These are also the locations where travel will be affected by areas of ice on the roads.

The sky finally clears Saturday night, and temperatures will hold near the freezing mark.  Sunshine mixes with the clouds on Sunday, allowing highs into the 40s.  This will melt any lingering icy areas.

About seansublette

Meteorologist at Climate Central. Broadcast meteorologist in Virginia from 1995 to 2015. Born and raised in Richmond, VA. Penn State alumnus. Loves baseball and the rock band Rush. Views are independent of my employer. Past performance does not guarantee future results.
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