Storm may bring wintery mix

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 3, 2003

Winter has not yet officially arrived, but it will sure feel like it over the next few days as weather forecasters are predicting cold and wet conditions with a slim chance of snow showers by late Saturday, possibly into Sunday.

While the mention of snow is delightful news to some, the Roanoke-Chowan area is not expecting any accumulation of the &uot;white stuff.&uot; Areas east of I-95 can expect a cold rain, perhaps changing to light sleet at times, to be the order of the day over the next 72-to-96 hours.

Meanwhile, areas west of I-95 may see a mixture of precipitation – rain, snow, sleet and possibly freezing rain over the same time period. Accumulation, if any, is expected to be light.

Counties in the northwestern Piedmont area of North Carolina and south central Virginia were placed under a Winter Storm Watch on Wednesday.

The triggering mechanism will be a coastal low pressure system that will gain strength from an upper level low pressure system that is slowly making its way eastward from the Mississippi River Valley.

According to the Wakefield, Va. office of the National Weather Service, cold air at the surface will remain intact during the daylight hours today thanks to a strong high pressure system. However, as that high retreats, the moisture from the developing storm off the coast will push inland, possibly beginning as light snow or sleet. As the coastal low takes shape later on Thursday, warmer air will push inland where evening temperatures are expected in the lower 40’s. There is a 70 percent chance of rain.

As the coastal storm strengthens on Friday, moisture will wrap around the system into the mid levels of the atmosphere and keep the forecast soggy and cold. Locally, Friday night’s low will dip into the mid-30’s.

The storm will also kick-up the winds on Friday and Saturday. Highs on Saturday are expected in the low 40’s. There’s a 30 percent chance of rain or snow showers on Saturday night and into Sunday morning here in the R-C area.