Snow expected to hit valley areas this afternoon

The Northern Shenandoah Valley region as well as much of Virginia is under a winter storm warning from noon today until noon on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

Snowfall is expected to start between 4 and 6 p.m. and continue until about 4 a.m. Tuesday, according to Dan Hoffmann, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sterling.

“The heaviest snow will be between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m., so it’s really just a six-hour window for there to be good snow accumulation,” Hoffmann said.

Accumulation totals, Hoffmann said, will vary on a north-to-south basis.

“What we are expecting is a tight snow gradient from the south to the north,” Hoffman said, adding that the heavier accumulation is expected to occur south of Shenandoah County.

However, Hoffmann added that areas like Shenandoah, Warren and Frederick Counties are under a broad forecast of 4-8 inches.

“Up toward Winchester, the total there could be … more 3-4 inches, and then further south to be closer to 8 inches,” Hoffmann said.

With this latest eastward pushing low-pressure system, Hoffmann said that dry air is the biggest question mark in terms of accumulation.

“There is plenty of cold air for the precipitation to fall as all snow, but there is a lot of dry air to the north,” Hoffmann said.

Hoffmann explained that the “initial onset of the snow” will have a difficult time reaching the surface because of the amount of dry area in the area.

At the same time, Hoffmann said, any snow that does fall “will stick to everything right away.”

The daytime temperatures for today are expected to reach no higher than 21 degrees. The overnight low will dip down to around 16 degrees.

Temperatures for Tuesday are expected to get back into the 30s, with a high of 34 degrees.

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Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kgreen@nvdaily.com