If it’s December, there’s a good chance snow will fall, and National Weather Service meteorologists say the chance is good it will fall just in time for Monday morning commuters.
Three weather fronts, including one involving moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and another bringing energy from the Great Plains, are expected to bump into each other around midnight with the chance of dropping up to an inch of snow on Central Virginia by 10 a.m. Monday.
On Sunday, the weather service gave a 60% chance that up to a half-inch could fall between midnight and 4 a.m. Monday and the same odds for another half-inch between 4 and 10 a.m.
The snow is expected to stop after noon.
“[Computer models] paint a decent shot at near an inch of snow over Central Virginia,” meteorologists said in group discussions. “Nelson County, being the farthest south, has the best shot at around an inch.”
Although an inch of snow is unlikely to shut down cities, towns and roadways, the timing of the event during peak commute times could cause problems with traffic.
“The morning commute may be impacted by accumulating snow Monday, especially across locations south and west of the Potomac River,” meteorologists said.
That possibility has Virginia Department of Transportation crews rolling and ready.
“Up to an inch of snow is forecast to fall across the Piedmont region early Monday morning, and drivers may encounter slick conditions during the storm,” Lou Hatter, a spokesman for VDOT, said in a news release Sunday.
“VDOT is urging residents and travelers to pay close attention to weather forecasts and road condition reports since conditions may vary greatly within a relatively short distance,” he wrote. “Higher snow accumulations are forecast near the Blue Ridge Mountains and to the east generally along Interstate 64.”
Hatter warned motorists to be careful and reduce speed when driving at higher altitudes.
“Be particularly alert for freezing conditions on bridges, overpasses and roads at higher elevations like Interstate 64 and U.S. 250 crossing Afton Mountain in Albemarle County and U.S. 33 crossing Swift Run Gap in Greene County,” Hatter said.
Hatter said VDOT crews will spread a mix of sand and salt to improve traction and help melt the snow, as well as prevent roadway icing. Trucks do not plow snow unless accumulation reaches two inches.