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Unusual pattern brings winter chill and mountain snow Saturday

By Brent Watts, bwatts@wdbj7.com
Published On: Oct 30 2014 12:00:00 AM EDT
Updated On: Oct 30 2014 06:47:08 PM EDT

Cold rain develops late Friday night

Clouds return this evening with cold lows in the low to mid 30s in the mountains, upper 30s elsewhere. Patchy frost is possible in the deeper valleys.

HALLOWEEN FORECAST

Trick-or-treaters will have to battle a cool wind Friday evening. A disturbance nears the area which may bring a few scattered rain showers during the late evening, most likely AFTER the Trick-or-treaters come home.

Temperatures should linger in the 50s through the late evening before falling into the upper 30s by Saturday morning. We turn breezy late Friday evening as well.

WINTRY WEEKEND

An unusual pattern is setting up for the weekend which takes a low diving towards the region out of Canada. What makes this unusual is these "Clippers" mainly move north of use and continue out to sea. This time, the low will ride along a deep trough (kink in the jet stream) and develop into a larger storm before moving toward the northeast. Basically, we're the quick stop on its way to a bigger party up north.

FRIDAY NIGHT: The even begins as a cold rain in the western mountains early in the evening, then shifts eastward overnight. By early Saturday morning (after 1AM) the air aloft becomes cold enough to produce snowflakes which will mix into the rain. This will occur first at elevations above 3,000 ft.

SATURDAY MORNING: By Saturday morning, the cold air will have settled in with the rain/snow line moving to some of the lower elevations and eastward toward the New River Valley and perhaps even parts of the Roanoke Valley seeing snow mixed with the rain. Lynchburg and Danville should remain all rain through the event.

SATURDAY AFTERNOON: The rain/snow mix will changeover to more rain showers in most areas, with the exception of locations above 3,000 ft. There, light snow will accumulate through Saturday evening. Temperatures will drop to the upper 30s to low 40s. Wind chills will be in the 20s/30s with strong gusts.

SNOW ACCUMULATION

Any accumulating snow will mainly be confined to the higher elevations, above 3,000ft. This includes places like Smyth, Tazewell and Grayson Counties which are under a WINTER STORM WATCH. Those locations could see several inches.

In other areas (NRV, Parts of Roanoke Valley, Highlands) a light coating on the grassy surfaces and cars is possible, if the warm ground doesn't melt it first.

Weekend Snow Forecast

COLD AIR

The unusual system will bring the coldest air of the season Saturday and Sunday with highs only reaching the upper 30s in the mountains to low 40s elsewhere. These are highs we'd typically expect for January, not November. Gusty winds will also take wind chills to the 20s and 30s Saturday. Not good if you're planning on headed to the Virginia Tech game in Blacksburg. Be sure to bundle up.

GUSTY WIND

As the system gets going Saturday, winds will increase, gusting 30 to 50mph at times, with the higher end gusts in the mountains. This may cause sporadic power outages, in addition to any wet snow that accumulations on the trees in areas above 3,000ft.

By SUNDAY, skies turn mostly sunny with afternoon highs remaining well below average. Temperatures top out around 48 in Roanoke, Lynchburg and Danville, with low 40s in the mountains.

*REMEMBER TO TURN CLOCKS BACK ONE HOUR BEFORE BED SUNDAY NIGHT as we fall back for the end of Daylight Saving Time.

We begin to warm up next week with highs returning to the 50s Monday and 60s Tuesday through Friday.

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