Data is starting to converge toward an idea on how this week’s storm is going to play out. But continue to check the forecast 2 or 3 times a day with a trusted source (see suggestions below), as small changes in a few things can have large repercussions on travel.
For our part of Virginia (Greater Lynchburg and Southside Virginia), this is primarily rain. But probably not exclusively rain.
Tuesday… quickly turning overcast with light rain and sleet developing during the morning… transitioning to all rain early in the afternoon. No significant sleet accumulation expected at this time. Temperatures at daybreak near 30, and creeping into the upper 30s for the afternoon. Expect a light to moderate cold rain for the evening commute from work to home.
Tuesday night… Rain most of the night. Occasionally heavy. Storm total by daybreak likely between 1.5-2.5 inches of rain. Temperatures steady… or perhaps slowly rising into the lower 40s during the night.
Wednesday… Rain continuing in the morning, then a break in precipitation around midday. Temperatures begin to drop in the afternoon, with a few hours of light snow (even as far south as Danville/South Boston) during the afternoon or early evening. Ground will be wet and temperatures will not drop below freezing until after dusk Wednesday, so would only expect a coating on grassy and elevated surface by dusk.
Wednesday night… Snow ends during the evening, but a coating to perhaps two inches before ending by midnight. Breezy with the sky clearing quickly after midnight with temperatures in the middle 20s by daybreak. Anything that can accumulate Wednesday evening will still be on the ground at daybreak on Thanksgiving morning.
Thanksgiving Day… Sunny. Breezy in the morning. Highs around 40.
Thursday night… Clear and cold. Lows near 20. Bundle up if lining up for those pre-dawn Black Friday shopping deals.
Traveling and Impacts
Both ground and air travel will be impacted Wednesday. The level of which is still an open question. The bigger cities along the East Coast (Washington to Boston) will be almost all rain… with the heaviest rain between daybreak Wednesday and early Wednesday afternoon.
Going several dozen miles westward from those cities will see a changeover to snow. While a crippling snow is not forecast, a few inches (to perhaps several) do seem likely in the interiors of Pennsylvania and New York State.
Western New York, western Pennsylvania and much of (the state of ) West Virginia will have mostly snow out of this system during Wednesday and into Wednesday evening. Areas near Charleston, Morgantown, Pittsburgh, Rochester, Syracuse all fall into that area, and these are the areas where a ballpark estimate of 4-8″ is a good starting point.
As always, if doing the distance trip this Wednesday, check on road conditions through the state departments of transportation (most states have road conditions on their websites), and follow local broadcast meteorologists and National Weather Service offices as the storm nears. Most of them have a presence on social media, and they will be more in tune with local conditions than me or the national outlets (e.g. Weather Channel, cable news).
For friends in Greater Richmond, the situation is similar to Greater Lynchburg… probably just a few hours later in getting started and a few hours later finishing. A small coating to an inch of snow is possible Wednesday evening as this thing shuts down.