WSAZ - Blogs - Brandon Butcher

So is that it?

Since we know warmer air is coming to finish this week, the question is a good one: Are we done with snowfall for the season?

Welcome to Wednesday -- halfway through the week...well, maybe at lunchtime ;-)

Since folks have been asking me about this (and probably will after each successive snow event going forward), I thought it might be good to talk about the prospects for more snow through the end of the season.

The first thing I want to look at is the amount of snow typically expected from here on out for our local "official" climate reporting stations (that all happen to be in West Virginia).

CITY February Snow (avg.) March Snow (avg.)
April Snow (avg.)
Charleston 9.8" 5.8" 1.4"
Hutington 7.4" 3.8" 0.9"
Parkersburg 5.5" 4.2" 0.9"

Most areas have already received a significant chunk of the February snowfall, and our Winter Weather Prediction from last November indicated that these locations would have a near-normal second-half after a below normal start. Usually these late-season events are concentrated into just a single storm or two in a given month, as the requirements for generating prolonged sub-freezing temperatures become more and more restricted to that which can be only generated by a decent area of low pressure.

So the answer to the question that titles this blog post is: No, we're not done.

However, we may be down to less than a handful of snow-able opportunities. Some good news for you though: The "blockbuster" potential is still out there. For example, a full 70% of Huntington's top snowstorms have all occurred past this date :-)

Looking ahead, there is slim pickin's for snowfall, as warmer air rules the roost. However, with the arrival of a stronger storm system always carries with it the possibility of the flakes coming off the back-end. Though the models were initially trying to push this solution yesterday for this coming Monday, it appears now they are finding it harder and harder to get the cold air to make it far enough into the tri-state. For example, the GFS:

GFS - Friday Morning GFS - Wednesday Morning

I'm inclined to go with this sort of thought, because frankly these post-storm wrap-arounds have been pretty poor for snowfall results (outside of the WV mountains). Oh, and for explanatory sake, on the above maps the blue blobs represent precipitation intensity, and the lines represent temperatures at the 850mb level (about 4000 feet). Usually for snowfall to enter into the equation this time of year, you'd want the 850mb temperatures to be lower than -2 Celsius. That would be beyond the first dashed line, which happens to be outside our area. Add to that the dearth of precipitation around in that cold air, and it's not a good recipe for a snow solution.

From the blog post earlier this week, we talked about a rough patch coming for the snow lovers, lasting from here through next week. Following that, there are a few things that are showing some promise. It's almost a fool's errand to bother with such long-range forecast pinpoints, but here's one image from the beyond to consider :-)

That image refers to the morning of February 18th, but you shouldn't take that for gospel. The general idea in the different models that are looking that far out is for an area of low pressure in the eastern United States and colder air in place locally. Obviously this is something we'll revisit much later on, and that we should put away for now, but I show this to demonstrate that all is not lost just yet for the snow-lovers among us.

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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