Snow, rain may hit region today

The Northern Shenandoah Valley may see a mix of rain and snow throughout the day today.

Carl Barnes, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Sterling, said the weather is the result of a “clipper system” moving through the area.

Most of the precipitation associated with this storm, Barnes said, is expected to happen today, with light snow starting just before 5 a.m.

He said that snow is forecast to increase in intensity with “light-to-moderate snow throughout the mid-to-late morning.”

Areas at or above the Interstate 81, Interstate 66 interchange — or northern Warren and Shenandoah counties — are expected to see around an inch of snow, with some areas seeing a couple of inches.

According to Barnes, anything south of that cut-off might be less than an inch and, in some cases, mostly rain.

Barnes said there will be a “transition zone” between the snow and the rain. “That transition zone will really determine where we get high and lower accumulations,” Barnes explained.

The biggest question mark with this system, Barnes said, is temperature changes.

With highs for today expected to reach the mid-30s, Barnes said that could prevent accumulation in some cases.

“If it gets warm enough, then that snow will melt on the way down and fall as rain,” Barnes added.

As far as travel impact, Barnes said he expects the morning commute to be affected the most by slippery road conditions.

Again, Barnes noted that the temperature will play a large role in determining accumulation. The low for this morning is expected to be in the mid-20s.

“At the very beginning of this snowfall, we could see it sticking to the secondary roads … and any untreated surfaces,” Barnes said.

However, Barnes also said, “It should be warm enough that any treated surfaces should be able to get some melt and stay mostly wet.”

By the middle of the day today, Barnes noted that it should be warm enough to melt the snow on the secondary roads.

The snowfall should be “tapered off by Wednesday night,” he said, “I’d be surprised if we saw anything after sunset.”

The National Weather Service is calling for a slight chance of rain tonight.

With temperatures expected to fall as low as 26 degrees tonight, Barnes said that any water or wetness on the ground “could refreeze overnight.”

However, he said that the impact of this weather could be short-lived.

“With these clipper systems, they are usually pretty quick and once they are out, they’re out,” Barnes said.

Thursday is expected to be partly sunny with a high of 45 degrees.

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