The issue of whether this will be a minor, significant or major ice storm will not be settled for many more hours, 12 at least. So far the Roanoke and New River valleys and nearby areas have experienced the patchy/showery early part of the system, a mix of freezing rain and sleet (and even a few stray snowflakes/snow grains at times for some). We have moved into something of a “dry slot” — not entirely dry, as there will be periods of freezing drizzle and “snizzle,” or ice crystals formed from low cold clouds that look something like drizzle-like snow or snow-like drizzle — between the early scattered stuff and the more organized, heavier precipitation with the stronger lift of the system to the west. This precipitation has been lifting off the northeast, but the area has been slowly sliding east as a whole and building southward as well. How much of this gets on top of us while it is still at or below freezing will determine how big of a deal this ice storm is. Forecast models are consistent in bringing more of it over us by late this afternoon and evening, but vary somewhat on amounts. Also, there is the question of how long it stays at or below freezing, as slow warming may commence sometime after dark as the warm air advection from the Gulf of Mexico finally begins to turn the tide against the cold-air-damming highs to the north. We will likely see some heavier rainfall this evening or overnight, but will it occur before or after the temperatures are 32 or lower? Both the strongest moisture and longest-lasting cold air are expected to be primarily north of Roanoke, hence this is is why areas to the north have the best chance of significant (.25 inch) to possibly major (.50 or greater) ice. The threat of a significant ice storm remains everywhere else in the region east of I-77 as at least some of the moisture arrives before the cold air retreats. It will be something to watch as the afternoon/evening unfold.