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Significant Storm for Tuesday into Wednesday

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For far western areas along I-81 between I-64 and OKV

An area of low pressure will move out of the northern Gulf of Mexico and up the east coast tomorrow and Wednesday. As it does, light precipitation will begin to overspread the area early tomorrow morning and will increase in intensity throughout the day … before beginning to taper during the overnight and possibly end as a period of snow Wednesday.

Initially, there will be just enough cold air in place for some spotty flurries during the predawn hours Tuesday morning. Precipitation type will quickly shift towards freezing rain and sleet by 7:30am. As warmer air continues to move in with heavier precipitation through the day, freezing rain will transition to a plain cold rain. As typical, deeper and sheltered valleys will hold to freezing rain the longest … possibly into the late morning hours.

Steady rain will decrease in intensity after midnight Tuesday night as colder air begins to filter in on the back side of the storm. Any leftover precipitation will begin to mix with sleet and snow again early Wednesday morning and eventually end as light snow/snow showers, as precipitation fully shuts off Wednesday afternoon.

Wintry accumulations Tuesday will likely not amount to much at all … up to a coating of snow/sleet and up to 0.1” of ice accretion in the very coldest valleys (where freezing rain will hold on the longest). I do not expect roads to be that much of a problem tomorrow … icy spots should be limited to bridges and overpasses I think. This is not a great setup for a high impact freezing rain event … but that does not mean that slick spots cannot develop.

Snow/sleet accumulations that occur Wednesday will likely total an inch or less for most. This part of the storm remains the most uncertain in terms of sensible weather. If colder air filters in more quickly than expected, then we will see a change over to snow earlier. There is also a question as to how much moisture will still be available and how efficient snowflake production will be aloft … both factors will have a big impact on the end result.

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