Wet week ahead: When we could see ice and snow

Posted at 10:32 AM, Feb 17, 2019

RICHMOND, Va. -- The jet stream pattern across the United States will make for a very unsettled week in Virginia.

Our attention then turns to a more significant system for Tuesday night into Wednesday.  Moisture will move in from the southwest late Tuesday evening, with precipitation rates increasing Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

Cold air will be in place when the storm arrives, so the first hours of the storm may be in the form of snow or snow mixed with sleet.

Warmer air aloft will cause the snow and sleet to change to freezing rain.  This will fall as rain onto surfaces which are at or below freezing, causing ice to form.

The warmer air will gradually allow the ground temperatures to rise above freezing, so the precipitation will become just plain rain.  This should happen across the metro by late morning or early afternoon, but it may take until late in the day to occur in northern Virginia.

There is definitely the potential for at least some minor snow and sleet accumulation before the change to freezing rain occurs.  An icy glaze may form on top of the snow.

Once the switch to plain rain occurs, rain will be heavy.  This will lead to some ponding and possibly flooding.

Additional disturbances will keep rain in the forecast for the second half of the week.  Liquid precipitation totals by the end of next weekend could exceed three inches.  This includes rain and the liquid equivalent of the snow and ice melted down.

The storm for Tuesday night into Wednesday is definitely one to keep watching.  We will have additional updates on our weather page.

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