Monday's almost spring-like weather, with temperatures in the 50s, was expected to be replaced Tuesday by snow and a dip of more than 20 degrees on the thermometer.
Add in the wind chill and it could feel as low as zero by Tuesday afternoon and as low as 4 degrees below zero this evening, according to a National Weather Service forecast.
The weather service issued a winter storm warning for the Fredericksburg region early Monday afternoon. By evening, it was expecting three to five inches of snow throughout the area. AccuWeather was calling for 3 to 6 inches.
Both Accuweather and NWS were expecting snowfall to begin about 9 a.m. Tuesday. The storm warning stretches from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Virginia Department of Transportation crews started pre-treating Interstate 95, primary roads and key secondary routes in the Fredericksburg District with a salt brine anti-icing solution shortly after noon on Monday, VDOT spokeswoman Kelly Hannon said.
Crews expected to start deploying at 4 Tuesday morning with snow plows and crews to treat roads.
Shortly after 9 p.m., school divisions around the region started announcing closings for Tuesday. Caroline and Stafford county school divisions were the first to make the call. Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania and King George counties had all decided before 10 p.m. Some employees were expected to report, however.
Colonial Beach schools also are closed Tuesday.
Culpeper County schools were already scheduled to be closed for a teacher workday.
FRED bus service also is canceled for Tuesday.
Besides making for dangerous driving and limited visibility, the storm is expected to bring temperatures that are dangerous for humans and animals.
Temperatures weren't expected to get above 31 degrees Tuesday but the wind chill will make it feel more like 20 degrees, according to Accuweather. North winds of 12 mph and gusts up to 21 mph were predicted. By Tuesday night, that could bring a low of 10 degrees, that, with wind chill, will feel like minus 11.
Wednesday was expected to be sunny with a high of 22 degrees and a low overnight of 11. Thursday, temperatures could exceed the freezing mark. Accuweather is predicting a high of 38 degrees on Thursday and a low of 8 overnight.
However, on Friday, temperatures are expected to dip again, only hitting a high of 27 degrees and a low of 11, according to Accuweather. Saturday is expected to feel balmy by contrast, with a high of 43 degrees.
Pamela Gould: 540/735-1972