Snow in the forecast

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 18, 2008

Old Man Winter is preparing to make his presence felt in the Roanoke-Chowan area.

Yesterday (Friday) afternoon, the National Weather Service (NWS) Office in Wakefield, Va. placed all four counties in the R-C area under a Winter Storm Watch. That means conditions are favorable that the local area could see up to four inches of snow later today (Saturday).

According to the NWS, an area of low pressure was expected to form Friday night along the northeast portion of the Gulf of Mexico and track northeast along the southeast coastline on Saturday. In the meantime, a strong cold front is expected to cross into northeastern North Carolina and southside Virginia on Saturday night.

NWS officials are expecting the collision between the two weather systems to produce snow across the watch area. The precipitation may begin as all rain followed by rain mixed with snow before ending with all snow during the late afternoon or early evening hours on Saturday.

As with many winter storms, NWS officials say there remains some degree of uncertainty to the amount of precipitation expected. As of Friday afternoon, they were predicting as much as four inches of snowfall across the local area. Local motorists are urged to drive with extreme caution if the forecast does hold true.

If the snow does arrive, it is expected to remain on the ground for a while due to an Arctic blast of cold air coming in behind the low pressure. After a high in the upper 30’s on Saturday, temperatures will plummet. Saturday night’s low is expected to be around 23 degrees. The high (33 degrees) on Sunday will struggle to edge above freezing mark with the overnight low in the mid-teens. Monday’s high is expected to top out in the upper 30’s.