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More snow headed for Charlottesville region on Super Bowl Sunday

Whether you’re rooting for the Rams or the Bengals, you getting home from your Super Bowl party could be snow fun.

Despite the warm temperatures over the last few days, meteorologists say the Charlottesville area can expect to see one to two inches of snow Sunday, with higher numbers in some surrounding counties.

A winter weather advisory has been issued for Albemarle County and Charlottesville from 1 a.m. to 4 p.m. while a winter storm warning has been issued for Augusta County, Staunton and the central Blue Ridge region from 10 p.m. tonight through 4 p.m. Sunday.

The National Weather Service projects an accumulation of one to two inches for the city of Charlottesville and Albemarle County, with potential for three to five inches across higher elevations along western portions of the county.

Augusta County and the central Blue Ridge area could see up to five to eight inches of snow.

Austin Mansfield, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said rainfall is expected to turn to snow overnight as the arctic front comes in.

“Systems should be entering into our area late [Saturday night] starting with a brief period of a cold rain, before changeover to a rain snow mix and then ultimately just turning over to all snow,” Mansfield said.

Mansfield said to expect snowfall throughout the morning, but it should start to dissipate by early afternoon. However, roads could become slick again in the evening as temperatures drop into the 30s.

“Main roads are going to be wet but they could become slushy for a bit tomorrow morning,” Fitzpatrick said. “They will have some melting in the afternoon and then a refreeze tomorrow night. So folks headed back from Super Bowl parties will have slick conditions.”

According to weather service meteorologists, rain should develop across the region Saturday night with a cold air mass pushing into the air, causing the rain to turn to snow around midnight.

The conditions are ripe for banding, when bands of heavy snow sweep through an area and drop large amounts in a short time, meteorologists said.

“At least one, possibly several locations in the larger advisory area, may see the right combination of cold air and heavier banding to bring accumulations closer to warning level,” they said on the weather service website. “This is most likely to occur further southwest, near the southern Shenandoah Valley and middle Blue Ridge where a winter storm warning is now in effect.”

Virginia Department of Transportation crews took their trucks to the road laying down a brine solution designed to help keep roads from icy when the snow and cold hit.

“Trucks are out today applying brine on interstates and primary routes ahead of the forecast winter storm,” said Lou Hatter, VDOT spokesman. “

The region has seen a significant amount of snow already this year, with a few major snow events in January, including one that led to widespread power outages across the region. NBC-29 television meteorologist Josh Fitzpatrick said this is because the storm track has been more favorable for snow.

“We’ve had a push of colder air from the northern jet stream, which has been more south over the past month after an abnormally warm December,” Fitzpatrick said.

He said the cold northern jet stream pushing south meets up with warmer and more humid air from the Gulf of Mexico and that creates snow storms.

“There’s an arctic front moving through tonight at the same time there will be some moisture overriding,” Fitzpatrick said, “and that’s what’s going to cause the rain to turn to snow.”


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