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Reverse order: Snow forecast after spring lull / February 20, 2020

It may not be a snowless winter after all.

The season’s spring-like conditions are expected to snap back to something more like normal as a winter storm bears down on Southside Virginia today. The National Weather Service in Blacksburg has issued a hazardous weather outlook for Halifax County and nearby areas of Virginia and North Carolina, warning that 1-2 inches of snow could accumulate this afternoon and tonight, especially at higher elevations.

Rain is expected to fall mainly after 1 p.m., with daytime temperatures reaching a high near 39 degrees. Later in the day and tonight, snow will enter the mix, turning to all snow after 8 p.m. before the system passes on. Low temperatures tonight are forecast around 22.

Friday will be sunny and cold, with afternoon highs around 40. Friday night will be very frigid, with highs around 20 degrees.

Snow accumulations Thursday and overnight Friday could be less than half an inch — which would nevertheless beat the mark for this entire warmer-than-usual winter.

Southside and Tidewater Virginia are part of a massive band of the southwest and southeast U.S. that is experiencing an early spring this year. The National Phenology Network, which consists of research scientists, resource managers and thousand of volunteer observers, tracks the first bloom of flowers and tree leaves throughout the U.S. This year, spring has arrived unusually early.

“Spring leaf out has arrived in the Southeast, over three weeks earlier than a long-term average (1981-2010) in some locations. Charlottesville, is 24 days early, Knoxville, TN is 20 days early, and Nashville, TN is 18 days early,” the network reported this week on its website. “In parts of the Southeast, this year’s spring is the earliest in the 39-year record.”

The early blooming vegetation is put at risk by freezing conditions, which could be bad news for horticulturists and agriculture producers if today’s storm lives up to the advance billing.

Motorists also are being warned not to hit the road unless driving is really necessary. VDOT crews in Halifax and Pittsylvania were out and about Tuesday, pretreating roadways in the expectation of snowfall to come.

For road conditions, text 511 statewideva or check out VDOT Lynchburg on Twitter @VaDOTLynchburg.

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