Update 12/11 - A Day Of Changes, As The Grand-Finale Moves Through

The final act of this storm system comes to town today, sending temperatures up in the early morning, and down during the afternoon. It will be cold enough for flakes by tonight with a chilly day for Tuesday. Will you get any snow?

Update (12/11) - The cold air is here. Temperatures are now down to the lower 30s across the tri-state, but much of the moisture is moving out more quickly than the cold air can come in. Here's the high-resolution model imagery of what our prospects for snowflakes are this morning...

NAM (Hi-res) - Early Tuesday NAM (Hi-res) - Tuesday AM Commute

That red line represents the best opportunity for snow flakes to stick, but it doesn't arrive until it's just about too late. Snowflakes can certainly still be seen though, and keep in mind elevated areas aren't beholden to that "magic line" that is tared to sea-level. Anyway, one of the other concerns early on is if temperatures actually dip to around 30 (or lower) to start the day. This could cause some of that standing water, and there is a lot of it, to freeze-- which would be a much more annoying way to start the morning drive than a few flakes dancing on the windshield.

Don't expect this one to get very warm either... Highs will struggle to get out of the 30s all day long.

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It's back to work for Monday!

We continue to be under the dreary clouds of this extended storm system, but today will be the last of the good moisture. Overall, here's what we've seen with the showers:

Storm Total Rainfall

To put this in perspective, Huntington received a grand total of 0.62" of rain for the entire month of November. We've beaten that amount this weekend alone, and already more than doubled last month's total with these first 9 days (~ 1.50" as you can see in the above chart).

And we're not done yet.

So far, the focus of the moisture has been were we've expected, right along and north of the Ohio River. However, today is when the cold front itself finally plows through. This will send another shot of steady rain through then send temperatures tumbling.

NAM - Monday Early AM NAM - Monday Afternoon NAM - Tuesday AM

Early Monday we'll be in another "warm sector", otherwise known as anytime the moisture fields are lifted north of us prior to the passage of a cold front. The interesting thing about this is that temperatures at the 850mb level are 10°C (50°F!) and warmer with breezy southwesterly winds. Temperatures this morning will stay in the mid-50s, and even rise toward dawn, out of the ordinary even by December standards. By the afternoon hours (around the start of the PM commute), the front finally moves in and through. Notice the pulse of moisture cutting right through the tri-state area. Given the decent clash of hot and cold, and the quick change-around of winds (shear), thunder can certainly be possible with the frontal passage. Don't expect severe weather, but a rumble may perk your attention because it's been a while.

Following that burst of rain, temperatures are going to nose-dive. We could see 5-10 degree drops in an hour's time in the late evening, with readings hitting the 30s before midnight. It's unfortunate (for those snow-lovers) that the moisture is high-tailing it out of here, because conditions will be ripe Tuesday morning for those flakes. As it is, places above 2000' should be able to squeeze out a coating, particularly toward the WV mountains. The rest of us will just be begging for flakes in the air. That air coming in will be a cold re-acquaintance with December as temperatures will struggle to get back to 40 all day Tuesday.

Calmer weather filters in by Wednesday, and we lose the cooler temperatures shortly thereafter. The next batch of moisture to come in will again be rain, and is angling for the weekend (again).

GFS - Saturday PM GFS - Sunday PM

Another Ohio-Valley tracking system...but one where we can once again beg for table crumbs that lag behind the departing storm on Sunday. It's not a bad deal for New England, as the moisture is still wrapping around an intensifying storm there, but for us we have to depend on more lake-effect to make it happen. There's obviously still time to get some snow for Christmas, but at this point we're probably down to one or two more events.

One of them just might end up being Christmas Eve... That's the beauty of ensembles-- If you run them far enough out, you can always find one that gives you what you're looking for ;-)

So here's some 'good news' 'bad news' for Christmas Eve, as delivered by the models:

GFS - Ensemble Member - Christmas Eve
(Good News)
GFS - Ensemble Member - Christmas Eve
(Bad News)

The way we arrive at these two different solutions of the forecast this far out is by varying the initial state of the atmosphere ever-so-slightly (given the correct assumption that we can never give the computer a 100% flawless picture of the current state of the atmosphere over every spot on the Earth). Then, we can stop the model days out, and look at how the scenarios bunch up or diverge. The differences can be startling, often evidencing the work of the "Butterfly Effect" and other esoterically high math problems.

So here we have two scenarios, one in which the tri-state area is getting wrap-around snowfall on Christmas Eve with the help of a deepening storm system centered over the Mid-Atlantic coastline. The other one shows another high-latitude storm dredging up Gulf moisture and giving us quite a rainy time.

Which one would you prefer? ;-)

To put it into perspective, here's the prospectus for temperature and precipitation anomalies in the week beyond our 7-Day map:

6-10 Day Outlook - Temperature 6-10 Day Outlook - Precipitation

Most populated areas in the tri-state don't normally get a "White Christmas", so whenever making a prediction for the likelihood of such an event, you need to start someplace lower than 50% (actually around 25% for the I-64 corridor).

Remember: Never say never! ;-)

Regional Radar/Satellite with Warnings Tracking

Accuweather Radar

From the Storm Prediction Center (below): Click For a Larger Image

Activity Overview Storm Outlook Watches Potential Watches Storm Reports
Temperatures HD Doppler Radar Estimated Rainfall Active Warnings
Current Temperatures HD Doppler Radar Estimated Rainfall Active NWS Warnings
Click For Larger Click For Interactive Radar Click For Larger Click For Larger

Have a great day everyone!

-B

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