As the wintry weather moves closer towards this weekend, the concern now appears to be less about snow and more about ice accumulation.
According to Foothills Weather Network (FWN) forecaster Dan Crawley, the current forecast predicts that temperatures may be slightly warmer than anticipated, but primary concerns would be more focused on freezing rain.
“We’re looking at less towards a snow impact, but more so on the freezing rain, which would be more of an issue for road conditions,” said Crawley.
Precipitation, according to Crawley, is likely to begin Saturday evening and continue into Sunday morning, with ice accumulation for the weekend potentially falling between .25 to .40 inches in most places in McDowell.
By Sunday afternoon, Crawley said, temperatures should be above freezing level, hovering around the mid-30s, but motorists and travelers should still keep an eye out for accumulation and remain vigilant on the road.
According to FWN’s High Impact Weather Outlook posted on Thursday morning, areas along and north of I-40 would be the most likely areas to see accumulations of ice, sleet and snow. Trends thus far predict to have snow or sleet in the Highway 74 corridor at the onset, but that would likely quickly change to liquid rain with temperatures just above freezing. An upper level low may produce a few snow showers on the back side of the system Sunday into Monday, but accumulations should be light, if any, outside of the mountains.
In the network’s First Call Accumulations, sectional areas of McDowell could potentially see between one to three inches of snow and between .20 and .40 of ice. The network clarified that this accumulation may likely change somewhat over the next 24 hours.
According to the National Weather Services’ (NWS) 7-Day Forecast, snow remains likely, mainly after 5 p.m., then alternating to freezing rain and sleet heading into the night. By Sunday morning, precipitation will primarily be freezing rain before becoming all rain after 8 a.m. From Sunday onwards, temperatures should climb exponentially with highs in the low 40s, with Tuesday and Wednesday likely seeing sunny conditions with temperatures between the high 40s and low 50s.