WSAZ - Blogs - Brandon Butcher

Update - A Touch Of Winter On The Way...

Monday was the best we've got this week. Time to keep the coats on even in the afternoon...

Wednesday Update - And voila! The first snows of the season for the tri-state...

Not just in the high West Virginia mountains, but also in some communities along and north of US-50 in our far norther Ohio counties. The Ohio counties got it this morning as the ole-fashion dynamic cooling took hold.

Here's a picture of the snow at Snowshoe Mountain.

The folks on the mountain say they are planning on trying to open before Thanksgiving. With days like this, I'd say they'd be alright ;-)

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Happy Tuesday Everyone!

Well, it may not be so happy depending on your perspective. There's a few of you thirsty for winter, and others not so ready to give up on t-shirt weather.

So let's talk about it...

HPC - Surface Map - Tuesday

There's a quick 1-2 coming at us the next two days, with the first one coming through this morning. Expect highs to be stuck in the 50s instead of the near 70-degree weather yesterday. Some cool showers will be quick moving, and we'll even catch a break later in the day. That is short-lived though because that next system moves in quickly behind bringing its own brand of showers by early Wednesday. This one will be more miserable though-- how about highs in the 40s(!)

The other element, called the 'elephant in the room', is the prospect for snowflakes coming with this second storm system (and the little ones to follow). To get the flakes, you don't just need (nor only need) temperatures at freezing at the surface. These early season flakes often fall at temperatures above freezing provided there's enough vertical air motion to squeeze out more moisture. The more flakes at the cooler higher altitudes can keep eachother cool as they fall to the ground, allowing them to stick on a normally warmer terrain.

It's time to dig out some of those winter weather model products :-) On the left-hand map, the "critical thickness" values for various slices of the atmosphere. Remember, average temperature of the atmosphere correlates to the thickness of that layer as well. The thicker the layer, the warmer its average temperature. At a 'critical' value for a given location's altitude comes the typical dividing line between liquid and frozen precipitation. Notice that by Wednesday afternoon these benchmarks are reached for our region, however in the earliest parts of the season the bar is a little higher than what it would be in the middle of January. As indicated by the map on the right, we should only start seeing the change-over in the higher WV elevations, but can happen as soon as Wednesday afternoon. It doesn't stop there either though, as we'll be in that lake-borne wind pattern that can scare up additional opportunities for flakes.

We're not talking about a lot of moisture, but flakes fluff up with 1/10th the moisture that rainfall accumulates. Here's the NAM's latest model-derived snowfall projection from all events through Friday:

I would set the accumulating snow at above 2500' with these, but flakes can certainly make it down to Beckley (and perhaps even further if we can get some slightly better results in successive model runs).

Which reminds me... Have you heard about our new weather contest from WSAZ? Just go to www.wsaz.com/contests and try to predict the first inch of snow that will fall in Charleston! The person who gets the right day the earliest of everyone wins a prize pack, including a 60" flexible flyer autographed by the WSAZ weather team :-) I'm sure a lot of folks will be holding out to the last minute, but it's that first person that gets in that wins. Try your luck (or skill) :-)

Who knows... It appears our temperatures will again be colder than normal for the finish of the month... Though even this is a bit less than what we had the past two Octobers.

With anomalies like this, perhaps now is the time to lock in a day in the not-so-distant future for our little contest ;-)

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Have a great day everyone!

-B

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