UPDATE: 12:30 p.m.THURSDAYMattmammm
Winter Storm Warning continues today
One last round of snow, possibly mixed with ice or rain moves through by late afternoon. Precipitation will be heavy at times. Expect an additional 1-2 inches of snow, possibly up to 4 inches in spots.
Final accumulations will range between 8-12 inches for Central Virginia, northward into Nelson and Rockbridge Counties, and southward across most of Southside Virginia. However, amounts will average 12-16 inches westward across Smith Mountain Lake, Franklin and Henry Counties, Greater Roanoke, and the New River Valley.
Once the storm pulls away tonight, the sky will start to clear and temperatures bottom in the 20s by Friday morning.
A milder stretch will follow Friday and the weekend, with highs in the 40s. A weak disturbance may touch off some snow showers or flurries Friday night or Saturday morning, but at this time, no accumulating snow is expected.
UPDATE: 9:36 p.m. WED.
Lynchburg, VA - Very heavy snow fell on cold ground, accumulating several inches within just one to two hours Wednesday evening.
The radar trends show more heavy bands of snow on the way for most of the night and even into Thursday.
Amounts between 4 and 10.5" have already been reported by ABC 13 Viewers.
Total accumulations of 6-15" are still likely through Thursday as the snow continues.
Thundersnow was even reported near Galax earlier, due to the strength of the storm.
Roads everywhere are in horrible shape. Numerous accidents are being reported and state police along with VDOT urge everyone to stay home and off of the roads through at least early Thursday.
The majority of the heavy snow will fall overnight, but lingering wrap-around bands of snow will continue (pictured) well into the day on Thursday.
This is a serious storm. Head to our ABC 13 Closings Page for the latest closings and delays.
Meteorologist Jamey Singleton is also LIVE CHATTING WHEN HE CAN on our page. Because of the volume of closings and updates, the chats may come and go, but we will let you know the status of the LIVE Chats.
Your snowy pictures are welcomed as well. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
UPDATE 2:00 p.m.. WED:
Lynchburg, VA - Snow has started across most of the ABC 13 Viewing area.
With temperatures in the lower 20s and heavy snow on radar, amounts are already adding up quickly. Many viewers report a quick 1-2" already on the ground.
From this point forward, conditions will do downhill in a hurry. The rest of the afternoon and evening will be very active with difficult travel.
Totals by sunset will near 3-6" with totals of 6-15" still expected through Thursday.
Send your pictures, if safe, to firstname.lastname@example.org and we may use them on-air. Be sure to include the location, time, and amount of snow you are seeing.
ABC 13 Meteorologist Jamey Singleton will also start a LIVE Weather Chat soon by 3:30 or so.
Be careful on the roads. Conditions are going downhill fast!
Winter Storm Warning through early Thursday
Skies become mostly cloudy this morning, signaling a winter storm that will affect most of the state between this afternoon and late day Thursday.
Snow will advance from south to north across our part of the state during the latter half of this afternoon, with a coating to an inch on the ground by dusk.
Snow will turn heavy at times during the night (possibly thunder snow), finally ending around daybreak Thursday. Lingering snow showers may add an inch or so after dawn Thursday, but most of the accumulating snow comes tonight.
Small amounts of sleet may mix in during the night, mainly east and south of Lynchburg, but no significant icing problems are anticipated.
Storm accumulations will generally be 8-12" for Central and Southside Virginia, with areas just eastward toward Appomattox, Farmville, and Buckingham getting up to 15".
Farther west, amounts will begin to drop, with a general 5-10" across the Roanoke Valley, 6-12" in Lexington, and 4-8" in the New River Valley.
Once the storm pulls away late Thursday, there will be some breaks of sun and temperatures will edge into the upper 30s.
Roads will quickly become snow covered within this evening, so travel is strongly discouraged tonight and Thursday morning.
A milder stretch will follow Friday and the weekend, with highs in the 40s. A weak disturbance may touch off some snow showers or flurries Friday night, but at this time, no accumulating snow is expected.
UPDATE 5:00 p.m. TUE:
Lynchburg, VA - The big one is coming. New computer models Tuesday suggest at least 6-10" of snow with up to 10-15" of snow likely by Thursday morning.
The snow is expected to start by early Wednesday afternoon, becoming very heavy overnight and lasting into part of Thursday.
As if the amounts weren't high enough, a band of heavy snow on the backside of the system will likely add several inches over parts of Central Virginia Thursday.
"There will be heavier bands of snow that will certainly help some communities get to that 15" mark Thursday, ABC 13 Chief Meteorologist Sean Sublette said.
This is very serious storm. The snow will be wet and travel will be nearly impossible after sunset Wednesday.
Prepare to lose power due to the weight of the snow.
ABC 13's Jamey Singleton will be LIVE CHATTING again Tue. Evening through 7:30 p.m.and again Wednesday.
Stay with ABC 13 for thievery latest.
In anticipation of the biggest snow in since January 2010, Winter Storm Warnings have now been issued for most of the ABC 13 Viewing Area.
On January 30, 2010, the Lynchburg Airport reported 11.2" of snow.
That statistic may be in jeopardy if computer models this week are correct, however.
Snowfall projections from the weather models Wednesday into Thursday would rival the bigger storms from the winter of 2009 and 2010, depending on the exact location.
The storm on the way is diving south and into the Gulf of Mexico as part of an active jet stream.
While weaker clippers have only hinted at snow so far this winter, the storm Wednesday afternoon has all of the makings of a disruptive storm that will create significant impacts area-wide.
First, cold air will already be in place and draining south into Virginia from high pressure to our northeast. In previous storms, the cold air has not been in position, and ice and rain were a result.
Second, the southern branch of the jet stream will be very energetic. A "dip" in the jet will be so strong that it will not only form low pressure near the gulf, but also effectively "hold" the low and its moisture closer to our area Wednesday into Thursday.
The fact that the jet stream's "dip" is strong will also slow the speed of the storm down will allow for heavy snow to fall for an extended amount of time, adding to accumulations by Thursday morning.
Throughout Monday and Monday night, computer simulations showed the storm coming together in a classic snowy fashion for the area.
Late Monday night, ABC 13 upped forecast accumulations to 6-12 inches, with higher amounts possible in certain areas. The higher amounts could near 14", but it isn't clear yet exactly where any heavy bands of snow within the steadier snow may develop as the low moves up the coast Wednesday night.
The snow should start for most areas by 3 p.m. or so, picking up in intensity after sunset and falling heavy at times into Thursday morning before ending early Thursday afternoon.
ABC 13 Meteorologists are aware that while our general forecast of 6-12" with local amounts of 14" are possible, many computer models are showing amounts much higher for the event. In fact at least two models show well over a foot of snow, with some places getting nearly double that amount, according to the model.
However, models are simply ideas of what may happen, and are in no way a guarantee of what the weather will actually do.
Still, ABC 13 Meteorologists will continue to look at the continuity (are the models staying the same with each update?) while monitoring other models to see if they are also forecasting the extreme amounts.
If the trend of higher amounts from the models continues, ABC 13 Weather will likely respond by increasing forecast snow totals.
ABC 13 Chief Meteorologist Sean Sublette wants viewers to know that computer models have to be watched before making drastic changes to winter weather forecasts.
"While we are aware of the more aggressive solutions of the ECMWF model and the operational NAM, we are using caution at the moment before forecasting greater than a foot of snow, Sublette explained Monday evening. "It is certainly plausible, but it is important to remember there are several suites of models to consult, called ensembles. Depending on one model all the time can backfire in the long run."
Sublette continued, giving more insight to the challenges and the art of making sure a forecast as important as Wednesday's is as accurate as possible.
"I like the ECMWF model, as over the long term, it performs the best of all the numerical guidance, Sublette explained.
"A friend of mine in Raleigh drew a great analogy linking the ECMWF to baseball Hall of Famer Ted Williams, noting that even Williams was out more than 60% of his career at bats, Sublette remembered.
"No matter the specific number, all areas should prepare for a high-impact, plow-able, and disruptive snowstorm."