IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT RADAR IMAGES: National Weather Service-Blacksburg radar continues to have technical issues and is operating in “degraded mode.” Therefore weather service radar images and the products based on them, such as the Radar / Future Cast on this blog, may not contain an accurate picture of the extent or intensity of precipitation that is falling.
It started as fast and furiously as advertised this afternoon and evening in most of Southwest Virginia, and snow will continue to spread eastward through the Piedmont and Southside in the hours to come. There are already problems developing as power is going out for thousands with heavy wet snow collapsing tree limbs into power lines. Also, of course, many traffic problems — at left is the Second Street Bridge in downtown Roanoke, snow-covered within an hour of the start of moderate to heavy snow. It appears most of Southwest Virginia along and west of the I-81 corridor is headed for widespread 6-12 inch amounts (some have already reached half a foot near the West Virginia line and in the far southwest part of Virginia) with 3-6-inch type amounts to the east. Snow will likely continue for 3-6 more hours in most areas, maybe a bit longer for some, before the surface and upper-level lows pull to the east. With 1-2-inch snowfall rates, that will pile up several more inches. Temperatures will fall into the 20s behind the snow, and so Friday morning’s commute will be treacherous, too. Highs Friday will not get out of the 30s in most locations, so this snow isn’t going to disappear in a day. There is still Arctic air headed southward next week, though it does not at this time appear to be an super-extreme outbreak. We’ll look more into that once we get past this snow.