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UPDATE: Freezing Rain Continues Into Sun. Evening, Significant I - abc27 WHTM

UPDATE: Freezing Rain Continues Into Sun. Evening, Significant Ice Accumulations Possible

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Power outages, due to the weight of the ice combined with trees and tree limbs falling, will be a danger, especially in the red-shaded areas Sunday. Power outages, due to the weight of the ice combined with trees and tree limbs falling, will be a danger, especially in the red-shaded areas Sunday.
An updated summary of what to expect from the potential ice storm Sunday. An updated summary of what to expect from the potential ice storm Sunday.
UPDATED ice forecast for Sunday. Once trees and power lines get over 1/2" of ice, problems start with falling limbs and lines. UPDATED ice forecast for Sunday. Once trees and power lines get over 1/2" of ice, problems start with falling limbs and lines.
Brandon Pugh in Amherst sent in this picture of the freezing rain. Brandon Pugh in Amherst sent in this picture of the freezing rain.
ABC 13 Futurecast Ice shows a good 1/4" of ice for most by early Mon. with some areas getting 3/4" of an inch. The darker blue areas will experience the worst weather. ABC 13 Futurecast Ice shows a good 1/4" of ice for most by early Mon. with some areas getting 3/4" of an inch. The darker blue areas will experience the worst weather.

UPDATE: 12:42 p.m. Sunday

As freezing rain continues with temperatures below freezing, roads and bridges are becoming slick, especially north into Rockbridge, Amherst, and Nelson Counties.

For the rest of us, significant ice is still in the forecast well into the evening and overnight as areas of freezing rain should move back in.

With the setting sun, we'll lose the radiation through the clouds... allowing for the ice to stick to trees, bridges, overpasses, power lines and decks, porches and sidewalks easier than earlier Sunday.

Latest computer model information just into the ABC 13 Weather Center shows a solid area of freezing rain developing over the area Sunday evening. There's even a chance of light freezing drizzle or freezing rain Sunday night.

A Winter Storm Warning continues for the entire ABC 13 Viewing Area Sunday.

Many locations along and north of 460 could see 1/2" to 1" of ice accumulation by late Sunday night. Amounts that high would weigh down trees and branches across the area, so it's something to watch all day and into Sunday night.

Stay with ABC 13 for further updates. Send your weather pictures to weather@wset.com

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UPDATE: 7:30 a.m. Sunday

Most areas are now seeing sleet and freezing rain this morning. Major roadways have been treated, but bridges and overpasses will be slick Sunday.

Our ABC 13 Winter Radar shows the moisture moving into the area. This map will update automatically throughout the day.

The freezing rain is expected on and off throughout the entire day Sunday, even into Sunday evening. Depending on where the heavier bands of freezing rain develop and track will determine which communities see major ice impacts.

All of the area will at least see around 1/4" of glaze on trees and power lines. Under the heavier bands of freezing rain, a 1/2" of ice to 1" of ice is possible, which would lead to more in the way of widespread power outages and tree damage as the day progresses.

Here is a county by county breakdown of what we expect Sunday. Keep in mind, conditions could change as the system nears the area. We will update the forecast as the track and position of the heavier moisture takes shape Sunday.

Alleghany Highlands, including Covington, Lexington, and Buena Vista

(Bath, Rockbridge, Alleghany, Highland Counties)

This area looks to get hit the hardest right now. Some sleet has been reported here, but freezing rain is going to dominate for most of Sunday.

Accumulations of 1/2" to 1" of ICE is possible. IF the heavier moisture falls Sunday, like many models suggest, widespread power outages are likely along with the potential for heavy tree damage.

Bridges and overpasses could get VERY slick, but the actual roads, other than a few slick spots should just be wet. Just watch for ANY bridge!

Also, watch for falling tree limbs or power lines! The power lines especially can be very hard to spot.

Greater Lynchburg and Roanoke, including Blacksburg and the NRV

(Roanoke, Franklin, Botetourt, Craig, Bedford, Campbell, Nelson, Amherst, Appomattox, Floyd, Montgomery, Pulaski, Giles Counties)

Parts of the metro areas could be hit very hard as well. IT WILL DEPEND ON WHERE THE HEAVIEST AREAS OF FREEZING RAIN FALL.

Moderate to major icing could bring down tree limbs, branches, and power lines.

Sleet is already changing to freezing rain, which will continue on and off all day.

Ice accumulations of a 1/2" are likely, with some areas possibly seeing more. Moderate tree damage is possible.

Scattered power outages are likely Sunday. Depending on how long it stays cold and where the heavier bands of freezing rain set up, the power outages and tree damage could be more serious.

Roads will generally be okay, except for bridges and overpasses. Again, watch for already fallen limbs and power lines as well as falling branches and trees... especially as the day wears on Sunday.

Southside including Martinsville and Danville

(Patrick, Henry, Pittsylvania Counties)

Mainly freezing rain. Ice accumulations up to 1/4". Temperatures may climb above freezing quickest here, but some icing problems can't be ruled out.

Far Southeast, including Halifax, South Boston, Charlotte Court House

(Halifax, Charlotte Counties)

Mainly freezing rain, possibly changing to rain later. Thin coating of ice. Minimal impacts.

Far Southwest

(Wythe, Bland, Tazewell, Grayson, Carroll Counties)

A wintry mix turning to freezing rain with 1/4" of ice possible before turning to just rain. The higher elevations here will tap the warmer air faster Sunday.

Stay with ABC 13 for the latest on this serious weather situation.

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UPDATE 5:08 a.m. Sunday

Snow and sleet will start at any time across the area this early morning. The snow and sleet will quickly change to freezing rain for most areas by mid morning.

Locations to the north (Rockbridge, Craig, Botetourt, Alleghany, Bath, Nelson and Highland Counties) may see 1-3" of snow and sleet as they stay in the snow and sleet a little longer before changing to ice.

The rest of the area, including the New River Valley, the Roanoke Valley, Bedford and Greater Lynchburg down to Southside including Martinsville and Danville will see significant amounts of freezing rain.

There could be enough moisture for major ice storm impacts Sunday, depending on where the heavier bands of freezing rain form. Location forecasts are listed below...

Alleghany Highlands, including Covington, Lexington, and Buena Vista

(Bath, Rockbridge, Alleghany, Highland Counties)

This area looks to get hit the hardest right now. The precipitation begins as snow in the early morning, accumulating up to an inch to 3" in spots before changing over to freezing rain.

Freezing rain will be a big issue by late morning. Accumulations of 1/2" to 1" of ICE is possible. Widespread power outages are likely along with the potential for heavy tree damage.

Bridges and overpasses could get VERY slick, but the actual roads, other than a few slick spots should just be wet. Just watch for ANY bridge!

Also, watch for falling tree limbs or power lines! The power lines especially can be very hard to spot.

Greater Lynchburg and Roanoke, including Blacksburg and the NRV

(Roanoke, Franklin, Botetourt, Craig, Bedford, Campbell, Nelson, Amherst, Appomattox, Floyd, Montgomery, Pulaski, Giles Counties)

Parts of the metro areas could be hit very hard as well.

Moderate to major icing could bring down tree limbs, branches, and power lines.

The area will start seeing a little snow and sleet, beginning between 6 and 8 a.m., then quickly becoming all freezing rain that may fall heavy at times Sunday afternoon.

Ice accumulations of a 1/2" are likely, with some areas possibly seeing more. Moderate tree damage is possible.

Scattered power outages are likely Sunday. Depending on how long it stays cold and where the heavier bands of freezing rain set up, the power outages and tree damage could be more serious.

Roads will generally be okay, except for bridges and overpasses. Again, watch for already fallen limbs and power lines as well as falling branches and trees... especially as the day wears on Sunday.

Southside including Martinsville and Danville

(Patrick, Henry, Pittsylvania Counties)

Mainly freezing rain. Ice accumulations up to 1/4". Temperatures may climb above freezing quickest here, but some icing problems can't be ruled out.

Far Southeast, including Halifax, South Boston, Charlotte Court House

(Halifax, Charlotte Counties)

Mainly freezing rain, possibly changing to rain later. Thin coating of ice. Minimal impacts.

Far Southwest

(Wythe, Bland, Tazewell, Grayson, Carroll Counties)

A wintry mix to start by sunrise turning to freezing rain with 1/4" of ice possible before turning to just rain. The higher elevation here will tap the warmer air faster Sunday.

This is a serious weather situation. Stay with ABC 13 for the very latest. Our meteorologists will continue watching the system as it nears and will adjust the forecast if needed.

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UPDATE: 1:08 a.m. Sunday

Freezing mist is being reported by our viewers in the New River Valley. Some walkways are already slick. The mist may be very hard to see, so be extra careful if you're going to be out tonight or early Sun. Even ahead of the main storm, it doesn't take a lot of ice to create problems.

Full storm update below...

UPDATED: 12:35 a.m. Sunday

Lynchburg, VA - Instead of a freezing rain event Sunday, areas along and north of 460 may end up with a major ice storm Sunday.

New computer models and weather data into the ABC 13 weather center shows temperatures dropping below freezing just as moisture begins to fall around sunrise Sunday.

If the indications we are now seeing actually happen, widespread power outages and tree damage is a real possibility for many communities.

There are also new information that suggests pockets of freezing rain or freezing drizzle continuing for a longer stretch: from Sunday morning, through Sunday evening, and into the early morning hours of Monday before finally changing to rain.

The longer the area stays below freezing, the greater the problems will be due to ice Sunday.

The storm will likely start as a little snow and sleet by 5 to 7 a.m. As warmer air higher up moves in from the south, however, the moisture will fall as freezing rain for the rest of the morning.

ABC 13's Weather Experts have been in contact with the National Weather Service, and their on-duty forecaster Saturday night agreed that the potential exists for a major ice storm that would affect areas along and north of 460 the most Sunday (including Blacksburg, Roanoke, Bedford, and Lynchburg).

There are several factors in play that could make for an ice storm with power outages Sunday.

First, temperatures will drop below freezing, and likely stay below freezing for a long time. Southside and the Mountain Empire west of I-77 may get above freezing by Sunday afternoon, but the rest of the area will be cold enough for ice and freezing rain all day Sunday.

In many situations with ice, the freezing rain turns to rain relatively quickly, lasting only for a few hours at most.

As mentioned, the newest information shows the Lynchburg and Roanoke areas below freezing even into Sunday night.

The second concern is the amount of moisture on the way. Up to 1" of liquid is now forecast to fall from early Sunday through Sunday evening.

Some of the moisture will fall as a brief period of sleet and snow, but the majority will fall as freezing rain, weighing down elevated objects into the day Sunday.

The main danger with this system will be falling tree limbs, trees, and power lines. Anything that is elevated such as bridges and overpasses, decks, and tree branches will become very icy.

The area that is most likely to be hit the hardest includes Lynchburg, Bedford, the Roanoke Valley, Blacksburg, and areas along and north of 460. Here, power outages are likely, along with numerous tree limbs and even trees possibly falling down as the ice continues to coat them during the day Sunday.

It has been a long time since a widespread ice storm has hit the area.

Have your flashlights ready to go with extra batteries, and charge your mobile devices and battery powered devices now incase the power goes out.

Keep in mind, if you do lose power, it may take a while before crews can restore it to your neighborhood.

There is always the possibility that it could rain so hard that the downpours literally pulls warmer air from above down to the ground. Also, the EXACT placement of heavier moisture could make a huge difference in which communities see major ice and which areas see minor amounts.

Below is a breakdown by region of what we expect:

Alleghany Highlands, including Covington, Lexington, and Buena Vista

(Bath, Rockbridge, Alleghany, Highland Counties)

This area looks to get hit the hardest right now. The precipitation begins as snow between 5 and 7 a.m., accumulating up to an inch before changing over to freezing rain.

Freezing rain will be a big issue by late morning. Accumulations of 1/2" to 1" of ICE is possible. Widespread power outages are likely along with the potential for heavy tree damage.

Bridges and overpasses could get VERY slick, but the actual roads, other than a few slick spots should just be wet. Just watch for ANY bridge!

Also, watch for falling tree limbs or power lines! The power lines especially can be very hard to spot.

Greater Lynchburg and Roanoke, including Blacksburg and the NRV

(Roanoke, Franklin, Botetourt, Craig, Bedford, Campbell, Nelson, Amherst, Appomattox, Floyd, Montgomery, Pulaski, Giles Counties)

Parts of the metro areas could be hit very hard as well.

Moderate to major icing could bring down tree limbs, branches, and power lines.

The area will start seeing a little snow and sleet, beginning between 6 and 8 a.m., then quickly becoming all freezing rain that may fall heavy at times Sunday afternoon.

Ice accumulations of a 1/2" are likely, with some areas possibly seeing more. Moderate tree damage is possible.

Scattered power outages are likely Sunday. Depending on how long it stays cold and where the heavier bands of freezing rain set up, the power outages and tree damage could be more serious.

Roads will generally be okay, except for bridges and overpasses. Again, watch for already fallen limbs and power lines as well as falling branches and trees... especially as the day wears on Sunday.

Southside including Martinsville and Danville

(Patrick, Henry, Pittsylvania Counties)

Mainly freezing rain starting between 3 and 6 a.m. Ice accumulations up to 1/4". Temperatures may climb above freezing quickest here, but some icing problems can't be ruled out.

Far Southeast, including Halifax, South Boston, Charlotte Court House

(Halifax, Charlotte Counties)

Mainly freezing rain, possibly changing to rain later. Thin coating of ice. Minimal impacts.

Far Southwest

(Wythe, Bland, Tazewell, Grayson, Carroll Counties)

A wintry mix to start by sunrise turning to freezing rain with 1/4" of ice possible before turning to just rain. The higher elevation here will tap the warmer air faster Sunday.

This is a serious weather situation. Stay with ABC 13 for the very latest. Our meteorologists will continue watching the system as it nears and will adjust the forecast if needed.

 

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Updated by Jamey Singleton - 6:21 a.m. Saturday to add "Winter Storm Warning"

Full Story Below Written and Updated by Sean Sublette - 11pm Friday

Surprisingly, the overall forecast philosophy has not changed too much since Tuesday. Having said that, I will admit to upping the precipitation forecast over the last 24 hours. There is still a small part of me that is worried this storm is going to lay an egg in Central and Southside Virginia.  

While remote, there is a small chance to pull back the strings on the amount of ice. After all, we have about 30 hours before the onset of precipitation is expected.

Timing

Still looks like it moves in from south to north around daybreak or a couple of hours before, and covering all parts of the viewing area by 9am.

There will probably be some breaks in the precipitation on Sunday afternoon, but even so, we may find ourselves in spots of freezing drizzle, which is only less bad.

A longer break should take shape late Sunday night, then another wave of precipitation comes in Monday morning… and another Monday night into Tuesday morning.

Everything is out of the area around midday Tuesday.

Temperature

Temperatures will be slightly above freezing at the onset of the precipitation Sunday morning, then fall several degrees as the atmosphere saturates. Expect temperatures Sunday afternoon between 27°-30°, and holding nearly steady overnight.

A small rise in temperatures above freezing is expected late Monday morning and through the afternoon, and they are expected to remain above freezing Monday night and during Tuesday.

That shift above freezing comes a few hours earlier in Southside Virginia, and will likely be delayed a few extra hours in areas along and west of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

A brief period of snow or sleet will lead the freezing rain, probably lasting 1-3 hours. Southside Virginia is more likely to have only sleet before a rapid change to freezing rain. Areas farther north (Alleghany, northern Amherst, Augusta, Bath, northern Nelson, and Rockbridge Counties) look at about an inch or so of snow/sleet before the changeover.

Ice 

Ice is the biggest concern.  The amount of precipitation and the vertical atmospheric temperature profile are the primary factors in the forecast.  

With that, the icing potential is 1/2 to 1 inch in Alleghany, northern Amherst, Augusta, Bath, Botetourt, Craig, Giles, Montgomery, northern Nelson, Roanoke, and Rockbridge Counties.

Just south from there,  look for 1/4 to 1/2 inch of icing. This includes Greater Lynchburg and most of Appomattox and Bedford Counties, west across upper Smith Mountain Lake, and into Floyd County.

A thinner coating to as much as 1/4 inch of ice in areas further  southward in southern Campbell, Charlotte, Franklin, northern Halifax, Henry, Pittsylvania, and Prince Edward Counties.

Danville and areas eastward toward South Boston and Buggs Island Lake will have a thin coating, but serious icing is not forecast in those locations.

Travel 

Overpasses and bridges will be the most vulnerable to freezing, as they are cooled from top and bottom.  Road beds will become increasingly slick as Sunday afternoon wears into evening and remain slick through early Monday morning.

Road conditions will be highly variable, as there will be pockets that are wet and pockets that are icy. Conditions will be worst along and west of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  At this time, I am not convinced I-81 will become a skating rink, but that is a distinct possibility if the temperatures drop closer to the middle 20s.  Again, Rockbridge County and areas to the north are at greatest risk.

Remember that even on cloudy days, some sunlight gets through and warms the pavement, slowing down ice accumulation, so if travel is necessary, it is best to get it finished before nightfall.  Even if the air temperature does not change, surfaces will become more slick once the sun goes down. 

Would suggest getting any travel out of the way as soon as possible on Sunday morning, but even that will bring a risk.

For many locations, it will be a game-time decision.  Continuously updated traffic information can be found at VDOT's travel site: http://www.511virginia.org/

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