About 3 to 4 inches of snow are expected to fall in most parts of Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park Sunday, while slightly less -- between 2 and 3 inches -- are expected around the I-95 corridor, according to the latest update from the National Weather Service.
Meanwhile, the county’s new COVID-19 community testing center, which just opened Thursday, will remain open today, Saturday, Jan. 15, but will close on Sunday because of the expected inclement weather, the Virginia Department of Health announced Saturday. The community vaccination centers at the old Gander Mountain store and in the Manassas Mall are already closed on Sundays.
Prince William County schools has canceled all activities on school grounds starting 1 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 16, the school division announced Saturday.
Schools are already closed Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
The CTC, located in a tent in the parking lot of Prince William County’s Pfitzner Stadium, behind the county government complex on Prince William Parkway, is expected to reopen on Monday. The CTC will generally be open on Saturdays through Thursdays, likely until mid-March, according to Sean Johnson, spokesman of the Prince William Health District.
According to the winter storm watch, “significant snow and wintry precipitation possible with snow accumulations of 2 to 4 inches mostly likely” and “up to 6 inches possible.”
The snow is expected to begin falling in Northern Virginia at about 1 p.m. Sunday and may fall at a rate of 1 to 3 inches per hour late Sunday afternoon and early Sunday evening, “resulting in nearly impassable roads,” the weather service says.
As temperatures warm overnight on Sunday into Monday, the precipitation is expected to change into rain or possibly freezing rain. Ice accumulations of around one-tenth of an inch are possible as are wind gust as high as 45 miles per hour, the weather service.
Regarding the COVID-19 testing centers, the VDH will decide Sunday afternoon whether to open the vaccination and testing centers on Monday. Check VDH’s website and social media accounts for more information.
Stay with Prince William Times.com for updates
Friday, Saturday, Jan. 15: Northam declares another state of emergency ahead of the weekend winter storm
During his last full day in office, Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency Friday ahead of this weekend’s expected winter weather.
The latest snow forecast varies across Prince William County. Western Prince William could be in for as much as 5 to 8 inches of snow, while the mid-county area could get 4 to 5 inches and eastern Prince William, 3 to 4, according to the latest snowfall map issued by the National Weather Service at about 9:30 a.m. Friday morning.
As of about 1 p.m. Friday, however, Prince William County had not yet been included in the winter storm watch and is still under only a “hazardous weather outlook,” according to the National Weather Service website.
Across the state, “significant snow, sleet and ice” is predicted to begin Saturday night and extend through Monday. Some areas in Southwest Virginia are predicted to get up to a foot of snow, according to an announcement issued by Northam’s office.
“We expect this storm to have a significant impact in many parts of Virginia,” Northam said in the announcement. “Declaring a state of emergency now allows our emergency responders to prepare and to move supplies and equipment where they expect to need them the most. This also gives Governor-elect Youngkin the ability to respond to any storm needs swiftly. I urge Virginians to take this storm seriously and make preparations now.”
State emergency officials conducted a joint preparation call Friday morning with Youngkin and his team, the announcement said.
Northam acknowledged that parts of Virginia are still dealing with the consequences of last week's back-to-back snow events, including power restoration and significant debris removal.
“This upcoming weather system is likely to include additional downed trees, more electrical outages, and significant impacts on travel conditions,” the announcement says.
Among other things, Executive Order 85, allows:
The activation of the Virginia Emergency Operations Center and the Virginia Emergency Support Team to coordinate assistance to state, local, and tribal governments and to facilitate emergency services assignments to other agencies.
The order also dedicates up to $1 million in state funds for state and local efforts to respond to the emergency, allows for the activization of the National Guard and loosens the rules to allow state agencies to more easily contract for services related to storm response and cleanup.
The executive order will be in effect until Feb. 13 unless ended or extended by Youngkin.