My Forecast For Today ( January 17 )
*NOTE: Intense Snow Squalls With Whiteout Conditions For A Period Of Time Are Beginning To Push Across The Virginia-Kentucky Border And Will Impact The U.S. 23 Corridor From Pound Gap Into Norton-Wise-Clintwood Between Now And 10:30 PM
ALERT For Redevelopment Of Snow Showers Tonight With A Snow Burst Potential Along An Arctic Front Sunday Evening ( Around 9:00 PM For Norton-Wise Give Or Take An Hour ) – Followed by Plunging Temps And Wind Chills To Bitterly Cold Levels Into Monday
ALERT For Dangerously Cold Conditions Monday & Tuesday With Bitter Temperatures and Wind Chills Amid The Coldest Air Mass Since Last February
Once Air Temperatures Drop Below 20 degrees In Norton-Wise tonight, they may not rise above 20 degrees ( for any length of time ) until Wednesday. They will certainly not rise above 20 degrees for those living on northern slopes. Snow cover of 0.5-1″ or more will make conditions colder within locations having snow on the ground.
***Remember to dress warmly and to plan not to be outdoors longer than necessary. Check on our elderly residents, take measures to protect pets ( e.g., horses, dogs, cats etc…need shelter from the cold & wind as well as ice free water ).
Temperatures at the High Knob Lookout will drop below zero tonight, rise only into single digits Monday and go below zero again into Tuesday Morning. Wind Chills will be EXTREME. Travel & visitation to there is not recommended.
High country lakes will freeze over during this event, as will many ponds & slow running creeks. Caution Is Advised as ice may not become thick enough to walk across safely.
Overnight Into Mid-Morning
A chance of snow developing during the predawn to sunrise period. An interval of moderate snow possible. Light NNE-NW winds at generally less than 10 mph. Temps varying from upper 10s ( at highest elevations ) to the upper 20s. Wind chills in the 10s & 20s, with some single digits at highest elevations.
Mid-Morning Through This Afternoon
Any snow tapering to flurries and ending. Skies may briefly become partly-mostly cloudy ahead of an arctic front by late. Winds W to WNW at 5-15 mph, with higher gusts. Temps varying from 20s to middle 30s ( warmest lee of mountains toward the Tri-Cities ). Wind chills in the 10s and 20s ( coldest at highest elevations with single digits ).
Early Evening Into Monday Morning
Flurries and snow showers developing. An evening burst of heavy snow ( whiteout conditions ) possible. Winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph, with gusts to 30+ mph. Turning bitterly cold with temperatures plunging to -2 to 12 above zero into the overnight-morning hours. Wind chills from 5 above to -10 below zero across middle elevation ridges & plateaus, with -10 to -25 degree below zero wind chills above 3000 feet.
Snowfall Forecast ( Predawn Sunday-Predawn Monday )
General 1-2″ East of Rose Hill In Southwestern Virginia
General 0.5-1.5″ In Clinch, Powell, Holston River Valleys
Target Snowfall of 1.5″ in the Norton-Wise area ( +/- 1″ ) Error Potential. This implies a potential from 0.5″ to 2.5″ and includes Sunday AM snow and Sunday Evening-Night snow ( with melting in between ). Extremes of from a trace along and west of a Rose Hill to Pikeville line up to 3″ in the High Knob Massif ( from both events ) are possible. Note that snow depths may never get as deep as total snowfall with afternoon melting of any AM snow ( especially southern exposed slopes & across lower elevations ).
While forecast models predict most places to have 1″ or LESS of snow, these graphics show the potential range when considering the current weather setting, terrain features & orographics, plus past climatology of similar such events. Regardless of amounts, this is to be a relatively minor system but one that can cause roads to become slick and hazardous. The bigger story, ultimately, will be dangerously cold wind chills and air temperatures arriving by later tonight into Monday ( when Arctic sunshine returns ).
While not all locations will have a whiteout, these zones ( inside the RED ) have the greatest potential for a whiteout type of snow burst along the Arctic Front during Sunday Evening – especially locations along and northwest-north of the High Knob Massif.
My Weather Discussion ( January 16-17 )
A period of morning snow deposited around 0.5″ or a little more of accumulation in the Norton-Wise area, with about the same in Clintwood ( 1″ on the ground ).
Morning snow, using time lapse video, appeared to stick but quickly melted down in the Great Valley and Tri-Cities.
The High Knob Massif is looking majestic when it emerges from clouds with riming, above 3000 feet, for many miles. After rising to lower 20s air temperatures have dropped into the upper 10s at summit levels of the High Knob Massif and Black Mountain.
The only change to my forecast in this update is to note that any brief break in clouds may be late ( or perhaps not at all ) as the Arctic Front cloud band has about caught up with clouds lingering in wake of the morning system.
Observe how the cloud break ( over central Kentucky above ) has just about filled in now ( below ) as it approaches the mountains.
Observe also the snow showers developing along the Arctic Front to the west and northwest. Those are the ones that I expect to bring a snow burst to the area this evening.
Current timing is between 7 PM and Midnight, centered around 9:00 PM for the Norton-Wise area ( give or take an hour ). These will bring very bad road conditions with local whiteouts and a rapid covering of snow amid strong, gusty winds and falling temps. Since yet again they do not have a good Great Lake connection, these will be brief in nature.