"Lake Effect" snow hits the mountains, the first of many?

Following our strong cold front of yesterday, we've now reached the time of year where upslope winds bring snow flurries to those favored mountain areas. The rest of us barely notice.

Good Saturday Morning!

I hope all of you have been well-rested on those turkey leftovers :-)

We've got our first Lake-Effect snow situation today, even though it's a little one. Let's have a look...

HPC - Surface Map - Saturday

The lakes are still much warmer than the cold air moving above them, and they are certainly not frozen over yet, both keys to being ripe for the snowflake picking. Add to it a nice steady fetch of wind aligning from there to our mountains (usually the WV mountains) and you have yourself a developing lake effect snow situation. Given the angle of winds, the best bet for a light accumulation of snow would be from Snowshoe Mountain north and eastward past Canaan Valley and on into PA/NY.

NAM - Relative Humidity at Snow Growth Zone

This map shows the relative humidity of the air at the -12C to -18C level in the sky. This is seen as the best temperature for "dendritic" ice crystal growth (otherwise known as snowflakes). Notice by this that there are times when temperatures below freezing do not lend itself to good snowfall, namely if a cloud doesn't contain temperatures cold enough to get to that -12C level. In these situations, usually a light freezing drizzle or under-developed ice crystals form.

Using the above map, we have the most favorable areas in the northern WV mountains with surprisingly little farther to the south and west. Keep in mind that this is a model, so it certainly can be wrong and/or can be a little off through it's poor terrain resolution. Even as I type this, light snow is being reported in Lewisburg, WV.

It looks like we'll get another opportunity to see if we can get some more flakes to fly during the middle of next week...

GFS - Tuesday AM GFS - Tuesday PM GFS - Wednesday AM

As we discussed on our "Winter Weather Preview" show this past Thursday, we have a few different storm tracks we're looking for this season to bring the high-precipitation events. This is one of them-- we called it the "Ohio Valley Soaker". These have the potential to bring rain, snow, or both depending on exactly where that storm center "L" tracks through our general region. Snow-lovers should be comforted that it's actually a little farther south for this time of year, so perhaps the next one may be pushed even farther, so that we'll be in the snow category. As it is, this one is a chilly rain maker, but with more potential to scare up the "Lake Effect" on the back side.

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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