Snow, Freeze-Up for Part of South, Mid-Atlantic

December 03, 2010; 12:04 PM
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A mere coating of snow and black ice can lead to a disaster, especially when it occurs in areas that rarely get these conditions, such as the southern U.S.

The same storm on target to spread enough snow to shovel and plow from North Dakota to parts of Illinois and Indiana Friday into Saturday is scheduled to make its next stop over the Virginias, northeastern Tennessee and part of North Carolina.

According to Winter Weather Expert Rob Miller, "Mostly snow will fall in the mountains from central West Virginia to western North Carolina Saturday, where a few inches can accumulate."

"Even in areas that receive melting snow or just rain farther east in North Carolina Saturday afternoon and evening, the temperature drop that follows soon thereafter could turn untreated wet areas to ice," Miller added.

People heading out and about Saturday night and/or off to services Sunday morning should take extra care due to potential for icy travel in West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee, as well as areas farther east in northern Georgia, much of North Carolina, upstate South Carolina, and southern Virginia.

Slippery areas may appear to be just wet, hence the name "black ice" or "clear ice."

While the storm will be weakening upon entering and passing east of the southern Appalachians, it can still deliver a couple of inches of snow to Bristol, Tenn., Roanoke, Va. and Charleston, W.Va.

As the storm pushes east of the Appalachians, precipitation is likely to be mixed with or fall entirely as rain, including in Atlanta, Charlotte and Raleigh. However, areas with the risk of black ice formation include these Southern cities.

The storm and its snow are forecast to essentially dive to the south of Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.

However, it will be a close call for snow in Charlottesville and Richmond, Va.

A shift in the storm track by 50 to 100 miles could mean the difference between snow versus no snow, or snow versus rain.

It is the magnitude of the cold air coming into the Northeast that is driving the storm so far south and preventing it from turning northward upon reaching the Atlantic Coast.

As a result, areas from Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia, New York City and Boston will likely miss out on snow with this event.

However, the storm is expected to "hook" into northern New England and southeastern Canada next week.

Interestingly, some computer models have been toying with the idea of a nor'easter long about December 12. Keep checking in at AccuWeather.com for updates as to whether that storm is a "go" or a "fizzler."

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