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Snow likely to stop by on way to bury New England

It’s back.

You’ve tried shoveling it out, pushing it out, plowing it out and even driving over the top of it, but snow in Central Virginia just isn’t getting the message.

A similar weather pattern to those that dropped snow across the region on Jan. 3 and again Jan. 15 is churning toward the area again. The pattern is expected to develop into a strong storm that will like drop most of its snowy load on the Northeast and New England.

“Light snow is expected to initially overspread much of the Mid-Atlantic and Carolinas Friday night into Saturday morning, with overall snowfall amounts under three inches,” meteorologists with the National Weather Service were predicting on Thursday. “Parts of southern New England, particularly eastern Massachusetts, Long Island, Rhode Island, and Cape Cod can anticipate significant impacts associated with heavy snow rates and gusty winds. Here, total snowfall amounts may add up to over 20 inches by the time the system exits on Sunday.”

Locally, the storm is expected to bring about an inch to two inches.

“A slight chance of rain and snow before noon on Friday, then a chance of rain between noon and 3 p.m., then rain and snow likely after 3 p.m.,” meteorologists predicted. “Friday night [will be] rain and snow likely, becoming all snow after 7 p.m.”

Predictions for the area were hard to make for meteorologists because the storm’s primary path will take it off farther off the coast.

“Confidence remains low across much of the rest of the area, especially north of US-50 and west of I-95 given the offshore nature of the low,” they wrote on the weather service webpage.

The Virginia Department of Transportation is taking no chances. They are out putting a salt solution on the roads in advance of the weather system.

“VDOT wants drivers to be aware of crews brining highways ahead of the snowstorm expected to move into the [area] early Friday evening at the same time people will be traveling home from work,” said Lou Hatter, VDOT spokesman. “Predictions have most areas in the Commonwealth seeing one to three inches, but areas to the east, including Hampton Roads, could get up to six inches of snow.”

VDOT, which employs its own meteorologists, is not expecting heavy snows such as the last two that hit the area. They are, however, anticipating potential trouble.

“The forecast shows the snow falling at a rate of about a quarter- to a half-inch every hour,” Hatter said. “Even though it is not predicted to be a heavy snowfall, roads could be slick and icy especially on overpasses, ramps, crossovers, and bridges overnight Friday and into Saturday morning.”

The weather service echoes VDOT’s predictions, but warns sudden and drastic changes in predicted snowfall could occur as the storm develops.

“The greatest uncertainty with the snowfall forecast lies along the Interstate 95 corridor from Richmond to Hartford, Connecticut where the western edge of the highest potential snowfall amounts exist,” meteorologists said. “The gradient between little snowfall to over six inches will likely be very tight. Therefore, any slight shift in the current forecast can have drastic effects on potential impacts.”


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