Update - If You're Heading South Today-- Be Careful!

Our jet-stream dives a little more southward today, and generates yet another storm that is a snow-maker. It almost slides completely under our area-- almost.

Updates below (most recent 6:45pm)

Good Thursday morning everyone.

Just like yesterday we're tracking some dicey travel weather today, but unlike yesterday it's snowfall we're concerned about instead of flooding or icing. The past week has been marred with a connected series of storm systems that have moved up a conveyor belt of sorts that stretched through the Ohio Valley. Now that zone has hopped the mountains and is impacting Virginia and North Carolina.

HPC - Surface Map - Thursday PM

This time around, the cold air will be sliding into the system from the north and combining with the evaporative cooling sparked by lots of falling snowflakes. At the same moment, the colder air sagging southward will be drying out the sky, creating a squeeze play where heavy snow is butt right up against the mountains and this layer of dry air. There is a little variation even within the same model though as to what the future holds. For example, here is the NAM...

NAM - Current Run (as I type this) - Thursday Evening NAM - Previous Model Run - Thursday Evening

So there is a trend a-foot to try to push the high impacts on the other side of the mountains and keep it there-- but make no mistake: both models are calling for some pretty heavy snow. My gut wants to go with the slightly farther north track, because I always consider the full mountains getting a piece, rather than putting it at the base of the slopes. Taking both maps into consideration though, it should be noted that very treacherous driving conditions will be out there on I-77, at the very least from Bluefield through south of Wytheville. There is also the possibility of the snows reaching all the way up to the Beckley area, and creeping to the higher peaks south of Corridor-G. Note the current thinking of the National Weather Service on the updating watch/warning map (below).

So if we go with the snowier scenario for our area, what are we talking then..? Here's the model output for snowfall from both the GFS and the NAM:

NAM - Snowfall Forecast GFS - Snowfall Forecast

That's a lot of snow for folks who haven't gotten it like this (some since Sandy, some since 2 years ago). I'm betting the drop-off in snowfall totals will be even more stark than this-- so folks on the northern edge of these maps, don't get your hopes up! It's probably a stretch to declare sunshine in our northern Ohio counties, but you should get the idea of a much different weather scene up there compared to the far south. Perhaps the breather in Ohio will be a good thing, even for winter weather fans ;-)

Check out the coordination between local Weather Service offices regarding the prevalence of snowfall across the southeast:

Snow-lovers will pick up on the El-Nino storm track signature of this event, and further hope that the cold pattern shift that is coming to finish the month may have more of these in store that end up hitting slightly farther north ;-)

We'll be tracking this one all day tomorrow, and I'll post blog updates when possible. Feel free to comment on any weather conditions local to you that may be helpful to all of us, or even ask questions that I can address. As always, the maps below will be updating throughout the day so you can keep tabs on the storm that will rage just to our south.

Be safe :-)

Update (6:45pm) - The snow showers are winding down and pushing east after what has been a high-impact quick-hitting event for the far southern parts of Kentucky and West Virginia (and Virginia of course). As we had been saying, it was going to be a difficult ride south on I-77 past Bluefield, to the point where you should re-think the idea in entirely. Here's a picture of the highway taken this afternoon:

Not a very fun ride indeed.

As far as the impacts in our viewing area, it was always only going to be in the far southern counties. Here's a picture from southern Mingo County:

In the words of Little Orphan Annie-- "The Sun will come out, tomorrow".

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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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