UPDATED: Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park are now under a winter storm warning predicting “heavy snow” with accumulations between 3 and 7 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

As of 2:33 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 3, the weather service upgraded the area from a winter storm watch to a winter storm warning.

The updated “urgent” alert covers a wide swath of Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia, stretching south and west to include not only all of Northern Virginia but also Fauquier County as well as Harrisonburg, Staunton, Charlottesville and into west central Virginia.

Total snow accumulations of 3 to 7 inches are predicted with winds gusting as high as 35 miles per hour, the warning says.

The warning will be in effect from 1 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 3.

“Travel could be very difficult. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute,” the warning says, adding: “If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.

Steps, sidewalks and driveways will likely be icy and slippery, increasing the risks of falls and injuries, the warning says.

Stay with the Prince William Times for updates.

9:21 a.m., Sunday, Jan. 2: Ready for some snow? The National Weather Service says as much as 3 to 5 inches could be coming our way starting tonight.

Prince William, Loudoun, Fairfax, Stafford and Spotsylvania counties, as well as the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park and other parts of Northern Virginia, are under a winter storm watch as of 8:46 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 2 through Monday afternoon. A total of 3 to 5 inches of snow is possible and wind gusts could be as high as 40 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service.

The snow is forecast to begin falling Sunday night and continue through Monday morning.

“Travel could be be difficult. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning commute,” the weather service says.

The forecast for Monday changed significantly in the last 24 hours. A low-pressure system trended north and west, ‘which will now bring the potential for heavy snowfall into portions of our area,” the weather service says.

The storm is forecast on the first day tens of thousands of students are scheduled to return to schools after a two-week winter break. Parents and teachers are already expressing concerns about returning to the classroom amid a significant increase in COVID-19 cases over the last few weeks.

The Prince William Health District reported a record number of COVID-19 cases recorded in a single day on Friday, Dec. 31, with 1,567 cases. The percent-positivity rate was 27.5%.

Still, Superintendent LaTanya McDade announced in a letter sent late Thursday, Dec. 30, that students and teachers would return to schools as planned without any initial requirement for COVID-19 tests.

There’s been no word yet on whether schools will change those plans because of the winter storm. 

Stay with the Prince William Times for updates.

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