The National Weather Service is once again alerting Charlottesville-Albemarle residents to the possibility of winter weather in the University community following a snowstorm Thursday night that resulted in four to five inches of snow, hazardous travel and the cancellation of in-person classes Friday.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for portions of Central Virginia, including the City of Charlottesville, as a potential ice storm threatens the region.
The warning calls for “significant icing” as total ice accumulations are expected to be up to a quarter of an inch. It does not take a substantial amount of ice for travel to be dangerous, the warning said.
In a press release, the Virginia Department of Transportation warned of the potential for ice and said that it “strongly advises” against all travel if ice accumulates on the roadways.
“The public should closely monitor weather reports and road conditions in their area as well as along their route of travel since conditions may change within relatively short distances,” VDOT said.
The most recent ice accumulation forecast from the National Weather Service predicts a quarter of ice in Charlottesville.
Alongside potential “nearly impossible” travel, the National Weather Service has warned that power outages and tree damage are likely as ice accumulates on power lines and tree branches, causing them to sag and potentially collapse.
The forecast notes the potential that sleet may also fall alongside the freezing rain. Sleet is a frozen raindrop that you might see bounce off the ground on impact. Freezing rain falls as a liquid and accumulates when the ground is cold. Both are slippery and can result in hazardous travel conditions.
If the forecast moves away from a mix of sleet and freezing rain, it is possible that the National Weather Service would instead issue an Ice Storm Warning. Ice Storm Warnings have been posted for nearby counties and the City of Richmond.
Ice Storm Warnings may be issued when 0.25 inches or more of ice accumulation is expected to occur.
Charlottesville has faced a number of winter storms that brought primarily snow to the region in the past few weeks but has not seen significant icing since mid-December when trees were toppled and more than 4,000 people in Albemarle County lost power.
Over the past thirteen days, McCormick Observatory has recorded 13 inches of snow. Charlottesville averages 16.3 inches of snow a year, with February being the snowiest month.