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Governor declares state of emergency ahead of Virginia snow

Posted at 11:57 AM, Dec 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-08 13:09:30-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency Saturday, ahead of a winter storm expected to arrive in the Commonwealth on Sunday.

The heaviest snow is expected to fall in southern and southwestern Virginia.

"Virginians should take all necessary precautions to ensure they are prepared for winter weather storm impacts,” Governor Northam said. “I am declaring a state of emergency to ensure localities and communities have appropriate assistance and to coordinate state response to possible snow and ice accumulations, transportation issues, and potential power outages.”

The state of emergency allows Virginia to "mobilize resources and to deploy people and equipment to assist in response and recovery efforts. This action does not apply to individuals or private businesses."

Of course, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Virginia State Police, Virginia Department of Transportation, the Virginia National Guard, and others are mobilizing preparing for the storm.

The forecast

Snow should spread into southwestern Virginia late Saturday night into Sunday morning. The snow will be fighting dry air as it tracks to the northeast. Snow will move into the metro by late morning or early afternoon.

The storm track and the dry air across northern Virginia will produce a sharp cutoff in the snow well north of I-64, but periods of heavy snow (and some mix) will continue for areas like South Hill, Danville, and points westward into the Virginia panhandle. Coastal areas and southeastern Virginia will have rain and some mix.

As some warmer air gets infused into the system, the metro will see the potential for some wintry mix. The mix will be more likely south of Richmond. This wintry mix will be in the form of some sleet (ice pellets) and possibly freezing rain (liquid rain freezing on impact with the cold ground).

Snowfall accumulations will be highest in southwestern Virginia. In central Virginia, the higher totals will be south of I-64 and west of I-95. The northern edge of snow may not make it into far northern Virginia. Rain and mix will keep snow totals down in eastern Virginia.