The showers of rain and snow that passed through Southwest Virginia on Friday night — with some 1-3 inch snow reports in parts of Tazewell, Bland and Wythe counties, but not much most other places — as an Arctic cold front pushed through were the first piece of a trifecta of rather weak snow chances this weekend. The second piece will be on Saturday, as a “shortwave” or upper-level disturbance in Kansas and Missouri late Friday evening heads east and energizes a low developing near or just off the coast of the Carolinas and Virginia. An area of light to moderate snow may develop on the west side of this low on Saturday, primarily over central and eastern North Carolina and Virginia. How far west this snow extends is questionable, but it appears any snow in our region will be light, with better chances east of the Blue Ridge than west. The third piece will be a pickup in northwest winds as the low tightens, triggering snow showers and squalls Saturday night as the winds squeeze out moisture blowing up and over the Appalachian ridges. The best chance of seeing measurable snow from the upslope event will be in the usual locations near and west of the West Virginia line and I-77, edging east into the New River Valley. With one event to the east and one to the west, that’s why the Roanoke Valley and some surrounding locales are in the split between measurable snow areas on Friday night’s National Weather Service’s snow forecast map. There’s always a chance this map doesn’t quite work out as drawn — it probably won’t somewhere on the map — but it is a pretty good bet that chances for measurable snow will increase the farther west and east you go from Roanoke.
Expect a cold, breezy weekend with or without snow, with many highs below freezing west of Roanoke on Saturday and Sunday. Temperatures bounce upward for a Tuesday chance of rain. The potential storm system late next week looks complicated, especially if cold air hangs around and gets trapped against the mountains.