UPDATE: Icy Roads the Main Concern into Friday Morning - WSET.com - ABC13

UPDATE: Icy Roads the Main Concern into Friday Morning

Posted:
Heavy wet snow fell fast and furious for several hours in Lynchburg, creating havoc on area roads. Heavy wet snow fell fast and furious for several hours in Lynchburg, creating havoc on area roads.
Lightning bolts showing where actual "thundersnow" was occurring as of 8 p.m. Thursday. Lightning bolts showing where actual "thundersnow" was occurring as of 8 p.m. Thursday.
A huge range in the accumulations. Elevation and track were a huge factor with this storm. From 12 inches in the mountains to hardly anything north of Lynchburg. A huge range in the accumulations. Elevation and track were a huge factor with this storm. From 12 inches in the mountains to hardly anything north of Lynchburg.
Data from the lightning detection network, confirming thundersnow Thursday Night in Central Virginia. The newsroom was flooded with calls reporting the thunder and lightning. Data from the lightning detection network, confirming thundersnow Thursday Night in Central Virginia. The newsroom was flooded with calls reporting the thunder and lightning.
Jessica Sanders in Narrows (Giles Co.) measured nearly a FOOT of snow! Jessica Sanders in Narrows (Giles Co.) measured nearly a FOOT of snow!

UPDATE: 3:39 a.m.

Lynchburg, VA - The main issues into the early morning are icy roads.

Rural country roads, sidewalks, decks, that have been left untreated are a solid sheet of ice and very dangerous.

Be VERY CAREFUL on bridges and less-traveled roadways through the morning.

Black ice is a concern again Friday Night, as melting snow from today will refreeze in spots.

The New River Valley had the most snow, with over six to 12 inches reported in far SW Virginia.

Amounts varied greatly across the rest of the area.

In Roanoke, numerous trees, power lines, and transformers took a hit from the heavy snow.

In southside, while accumulations may have been lower, the energy in the atmosphere was still strong enough for "thundersnow"... an odd situation where the air is being lifted against ice in the clouds to create lightning and intense snowfall rates.

Friday is looking sunny with highs in the upper 30s. More details on the ABC 13 Weather Page.

  

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UPDATE: 11:57 p.m.

Lynchburg, VA – While the heaviest of snow is tapering off to a light drizzle and scattered lingering rain and snow showers, there are still very slick roads area-wide.

In parts of central Virginia and in southside, the storm is going out with a "bang".  

Viewers from Amherst, Appomattox, Charlotte, Pittsylvania, Henry and Patrick Counties, are reporting "thundersnow".

Thundersnow is simply a sign of intense upward motion in the atmosphere, similar to an actual thunderstorm, but with snow.

Our viewers report trees snapping, falling over, and transformers exploding, especially in the Roanoke Valley and the New River Valley.

Roanoke City Fire and EMS report live power lines down and advise extreme caution.

AEP is reporting over 77,000 customers without power as of this writing.

Some totals over 10 inches have been reported in the mountains, with several inches reported elsewhere.

This is a developing story. Keep it here on www.wset.com for the latest on this quickly developing winter storm.

-Meteorologists Matt Ferguson, Lyndsay Tapases, Sean Sublette, and Jamey Singleton all contributed to this story.

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UPDATE: 6:05 p.m.

Lynchburg, VA - Huge, wet snowflakes are now falling fast in Lynchburg, with accumulations expected to add up quickly. At least three inches of snow is expected, with some areas seeing up to six inches before the storm exits around midnight.

As was the case in Roanoke just a few hours ago, the roads - even major Highways are turning slick in a hurry.

We are getting multiple reports of accidents throughout the area (almost constant as of this writing).

If you don't have a reason to be out tonight, it is strongly advised that you stay off of the roads.

Because the sun has set and the snow is falling so heavily, travel will be nearly impossible between now and at least 10 p.m.

Reports of mixed precipitation are now coming in from southside, but heavy snow is still expected at any time from Martinsville to Danville and South Boston.

This is a developing story. Keep it here on www.wset.com for the latest on this quickly developing winter storm.

-Meteorologists Matt Ferguson, Lyndsay Tapases, Sean Sublette, and Jamey Singleton all contributed to this story.

 

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UPDATE: 4:21 p.m.

Lynchburg, VA – The rain has changed to heavy, wet snow in the Roanoke Valley and the New River Valley. Many locations already have several inches on the ground, and roads there are very slick already.

Lynchburg and Southside can expect the same by 6 to 7 p.m.

Once the snow starts, it will come down fast and furious, accumulating 3 to 5 inches in the Lynchburg are by midnight tonight.

In the Roanoke Valley and in the mountains of the New River Valley, some areas are already nearing three inches. Amounts between 5 and 10 inches are possible west of Roanoke and along and west of the Blue Ridge Parkway, south and west of Roanoke.

Southside can still expect several quick inches of heavy wet snow after sunset. Two to four inches is expected from Martinsville to South Boston.

Travel is STRONGLY discouraged this evening into tonight until the snowstorm moves out later tonight. Even then, watch for unplowed roads and icy spots on highways.

More updates to come. Keep it here on www.wset.com and www.wset.com/weather  for the latest on this quickly developing winter storm.

-Meteorologists Matt Ferguson, Lyndsay Tapases, Sean Sublette, and Jamey Singleton all contributed to this story.

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The ABC 13 Weather Center is starting to get reports of rain mixing with sleet and snow across the Greater Roanoke Valley. Some areas have almost entirely changed over to snow, especially in the mountains.

The new computer models are in and the forecast still looks on track.

Over the next 3-5 hours, everyone will see any rain changing to wet snow.

As mentioned before, the snow could fall heavy just as the sun is setting (around 5:25 p.m.). Some areas will be under a zone where very heavy bands will allow for accumulations to add up very quickly.

Our forecast of three to five inches still stands as we expect a quick-hitting period of heavy wet snow late this evening.

The evening rush could be very dangerous if you have to travel. Avoid the roadways this evening if you can. Once the sun sets, the pavement will turn slick fast.

Wind could be an issue, with the ground so soggy from so much rain - 20 mph gusts plus the weight of the wet snow could knock off limbs or pull some weaker trees down.

Power outages are not out of the question if the snow falls heavy enough, both from accidents on roads, and from falling trees.

We are updating on-air at the top of each hour until our news starts at 5 p.m..

More updates to come. Keep it here on www.wset.com for the latest on this quickly developing winter storm.

-Meteorologists Matt Ferguson, Lyndsay Tapases, Sean Sublette, and Jamey Singleton all contributed to this story.

 

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UPDATE 7:30 a.m.

Lynchburg, VA - Rain continues to fall across the ABC 13 Viewing Area this morning, but is still expected to turnover to a heavy, wet snow as early as noon for some of the higher elevations, and by this evening for the rest of the area.

The storm is still only just beginning to gather strength to our south across Alabama and Georgia this morning. A strong jet stream will help the storm grow in size and intensity, pulling in colder air later this afternoon and changing the rain over to wet snow.

Initially, the snow may have a hard time sticking this afternoon for a couple of hours, but most of the ABC 13 viewing area, (especially the New River Valley, areas along and south of Highway 460 in Roanoke and Lynchburg, and Southside), will see some intense snowfall rates as the sun is setting.

The lack of sun radiation makes a huge difference in snowfall accumulations. Add in the fact that the snow will be coming down heavily for several hours, and the result is a quick-hitting and intense wet snow that could snarl traffic just in time for the evening rush on roads.

The snow will continue into the night tonight, before ending between 8 p.m. and midnight Friday.

Another factor to consider this morning is flooding.

Before the snow, light to moderate rain is keeping the threat of some flooding going into today - especially in areas that were drenched with the heaviest rains earlier this week.

Be on the look out for high water and watch for ponding of water and minor flooding in low spots and poor drainage areas today.

Winds should pick up as our snowstorm gets going this afternoon and evening, gusting over 20 mph at times. Combined with the shear weight of the snow on trees and power lines; it looks like power outages are possible late today into tonight.

Travel will become EXTREMELY DIFFICULT once the sun sets today, which will take place at 5:25 p.m. in Lynchburg. Really, this time of the year, once we get past 4 p.m., though, the sun angle is so weak, that accumulations will start quickly later in the day.

New model data suggests that Martinsville, Danville, Halifax, and South Boston may end up with just an impressive snowfall accumulations later tonight as well.

A heavy band of snow is expected to form along the storm's back side this evening, with snowfall rates of 1-2" per hour possible. The band of snow will affect almost everyone in the area at some point this evening into tonight.

Everything should move out tonight around midnight, but then the concern will shift to icy roads as temperatures fall into the 20s behind the storm.

More updates to come. Keep it here on www.wset.com for the latest on this quickly developing winter storm.

-Meteorologists Matt Ferguson, Lyndsay Tapases, Sean Sublette, and Jamey Singleton all contributed to this story.

 

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UPDATE: 10:50 p.m.

Lynchburg, VA - Everything is still on track for the ABC 13 Viewing Area to receive between three and six inches of snow late in the day Thursday.

The New River Valley could see five to ten inches, with more in spots.

The ABC 13 Weather Experts have just looked over and studied at least four new computer models that still indicate rain turning over to heavy, wet snow just as the sun starts to set in our area.

The changeover to snow combined with the intense snowfall rates after sunset are what's expected to keep our forecast totals significant.

If you are going to be traveling from work Thursday, please exercise caution. Roads may be very dangerous.

Wind and weight of the wet snow is also an issue, so power outages are possible for some. Winds could gust as high as 20 to 25 mph as well later Thursday.

The system is coming from the same jet stream that is loaded with moisture. Rain or snow, a solid inch of liquid moisture could exaggerate flooding concerns as well.

More updates to come. Keep it here on www.wset.com for the latest on this quickly developing winter storm.

-Meteorologists Matt Ferguson, Lyndsay Tapases, Sean Sublette, and Jamey Singleton all contributed to this story.

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UPDATE: 4:50 p.m.

Lynchburg, VA – A winter storm is expected to develop across the ABC 13 viewing area Thursday afternoon, peaking Thursday evening. Snowfall of three to six inches is likely.

Winter Storm WARNINGS have now been issued for all of the New River Valley, the Roanoke Valley and the foothills including Amherst, Bedford, Franklin, and Patrick Counties (and all areas to the west.)

A Winter Weather Advisory is now in effect for Lynchburg City and Campbell County including Martinsville and Danville, South Boston and Charlotte Courthouse.

Thursday will start out rainy. By late morning, as the storm nears and pulls in colder air, we will see the mountains mix and change over to wet snow by noon.

Into the afternoon, a quick change from rain to snow will occur from the New River Valley and move east into the Roanoke Valley and Lynchburg areas.

The snow may fall very heavily as it tracks across the metro areas just in time for the afternoon and evening rush. Roadways could quickly become snow covered as the sun sets and snowfall rates pick up.

The snow will only be around for about three to five hours at best, but it will be falling fast and likely accumulating quickly, even in Southside during the early part of the night.

Most locations will see three to six inches of snow, but there could be some higher amounts. Up to 10 inches is possible in sections of the New River Valley, the Mountain Empire, and the highest elevations of West Virginia and Nelson County.

Other concerns include pure moisture. The upcoming storm could bring another inch or more of liquid equivalent moisture to already saturated ground, so flooding problems could also be an issue Thursday.

The entire event is said and done with later Thursday Night.

More updates to come. Keep it here on www.wset.com for the latest on this quickly developing winter storm.

-Meteorologists Matt Ferguson, Lyndsay Tapases, Sean Sublette, and Jamey Singleton all contributed to this story.

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UPDATE: 3:30 p.m.

Lynchburg, VA – After looking and analyzing the very latest forecast models, both from the National Weather Service, and our exclusive in-house models, ABC 13 Chief Meteorologist Sean Sublette and the rest of the ABC 13 Weather Team will be ramping up snowfall total forecasts for many of you Thursday.

One of the main factors the weather experts have been looking at is the fact that virtually every computer model seems to be "grabbing" the storm in with good detail, and that tells the weather team that there indeed is a storm coming, one that could pack a punch by this time Thursday.

The timing of the snow still hasn't changed. The highest elevations will see rain turn to wet snow late in the morning Thursday.

From there, the New River Valley turns over to heavy wet snow by afternoon.

One main concern is that it appears the Roanoke, Bedford, and Lynchburg areas will likely change to snow as the sun is lowering in the sky. This allows the snow to stick – and the snowfall rates are expected to be high.

Road conditions and power outages are becoming a concern now.

This will be a relatively quick-hitting shot at snow, but it looks like there is enough moisture, cold air, energy and a decent track to forecast a winter snow storm for most of the area.

Winter Storm Warnings have already gone up for Nelson County.

Look for higher amounts from the ABC 13 Weather Team as well. We're almost finished fine-tuning our graphics for you and will have an update out as soon as we can!

Keep it here on www.wset.com for further details on this developing storm.

 

-Meteorologists Matt Ferguson, Lyndsay Tapases, Sean Sublette, and Jamey Singleton all contributed to this story.

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UPDATE: 12:07 p.m.

Lynchburg, VA - New computer models are still coming in, and it's looking more and more like a potential significant snow event for the area Thursday.

Winter Storm Watches are in effect for most of the ABC 13 Viewing Area north and west of Lynchburg.

The projected track of this system could put our area in a zone where the snow will fall fast once the colder air changes the rain over to snow.

For the Highest Elevations, near West Virginia, rain showers could change to snow as early as mid morning Thursday.

For the New River Valley, rain changes to heavy, wet snow into the afternoon Thursday, lasting into the evening before ending.

The Roanoke Valley and foothills, including Greater Lynchburg may see rain for a good part of Thursday morning, but the change to snow may occur just in time for the afternoon rush, between 3 and 5 p.m.

Southside could also see snow, though the track favors the highest totals further north and west from Danville right now.

The two major issues are timing and the rate of snowfall.

As of this writing, and after looking at all of the various computer models from the ABC 13 Weather Center, there is the potential for a quick-hitting heavy wet snow event from Thursday early afternoon through early Thursday Night.

Since the sun will have set for many areas when the change to snow sets in, accumulations - even on roads - are likely.

A solid 2-4" is likely for most areas, with isolated higher amounts. The NRV and sections of the Roanoke Valley could see 3-6" amounts. Southside could see 1-2" totals.

Models are forecasting snowfall amounts much higher, but the ABC 13 Weather Team is taking into account wet ground for now - to cut the accumulations down a bit.

Still, this is a system worth watching.

Updates to come. Keep it here on www.wset.com

-Meteorologists Matt Ferguson, Lyndsay Tapases, Sean Sublette, and Jamey Singleton all contributed to this story.

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Lynchburg, VA - A Winter Storm Watch is in effect for western sections of our viewing area for Thursday.

The next storm moves into the region Thursday. Right now, expect rain to develop Thursday morning, then change to snow from west to east through the afternoon and into the evening.

An early call on snowfall totals are 1 to 3 inches by late Thursday night.  In the mountains and New River Valley, the area could see 3 inches with up to 5 inches in some spots.  In Central Virginia and the Roanoke Valley, 1 to 2 inches. Along the Southside, a coating to an inch.

Stay tuned for updates to the snowfall forecast, as changes could be made as the storm draws closer.

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