Snow, sleet, chilly temps for weekend

Virginia residents looking for a break from Mother Nature will have to wait until after this weekend.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for the counties of Shenandoah, Warren, Clarke, Page and Frederick as well as the city of Winchester from 6 a.m. Saturday until 6 a.m. Sunday.

According to the weekend forecast, valley residents will see snow as well as sleet, freezing rain and more sub-freezing temperatures.

Weather service meteorologist Calvin Meadows said that the snow is expected to start around 3 a.m. Saturday morning and continue “off and on throughout the day.”

Meadows noted that snow accumulation totals for Frederick, Warren and Clarke County could be somewhere between 4-6 inches. Shenandoah, Page and southward localities are expected to receive 6-8 inches.

“It should change over into a mixture of snow, freezing rain and sleet for a period before it tapers off to some really light rain,” Meadows said.

Following the transition, Meadows said that temperatures will be “low enough” that any precipitation will freeze on contact. On Sunday, precipitation is expected to be primarily rain after 9 a.m.

The high for Saturday is expected to reach 30 degrees, with an overnight low of 30.

Sunday is expected to be warmer, with temperatures reaching 43 degrees. However, sub-freezing conditions and single-digit lows are expected to return on Monday.

“If you are a glass half-full kind of guy, there will be a little bit of a warming trend by mid-week,” Meadows said.

As a result of the inclement weather, the Virginia Department of Transportation has advised valley residents to not travel Saturday.

Similar to its response to Monday’s weather, VDOT spokesman Ken Slack said they will be deploying “900 pieces of equipment to plow and treat the roadways” throughout the Staunton District.

“One thing that might help us is there is quite a bit of salt … and chemicals still on the roadways,” Slack added.

In addition, Slack said that VDOT will be “beefing up” its safety service patrol in northern Shenandoah County “to help keep traffic moving in the case that there might be incidences.”

Along with treating the roads with salt, Slack said that VDOT crews will be mixing “other chemicals” along with abrasive materials in order to “keep ice off of the roadways.”

The major difference from Monday, Slack said, is the fact that this system is expected to bring sleet as well as freezing rain to the valley.

“There are some extra cautions that drivers will need to take,” Slack said. Such precautions, according to a news release, include allowing extra travel time and looking out for icy patches.

Slack also noted, “By the time it switches over to rain, it may be falling on already saturated grounds, and … [in] some flood-prone areas you might have some standing water.”

As a result of the rain, VDOT has cautioned residents to not “attempt to cross roads covered with water.”

Visit Twitter.com @NVDaily and nvdaily.com/weather for the latest updates.

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