Update - The next storm comes into focus, and the snow-lovers are gaining!

Yes, it's still bitterly cold out for one more morning, but everyone is latched on to the late-week possibilities. So, we continue to take a hard look at what's coming (first call for snow-fall!)

Updated Below (most recent: 8:30pm)

Welcome to Wednesday -- Half-way to the weekend!

Our weather map continues to feature bitterly cold weather (in our perspective-- yes, I understand it's been colder through history and it's a lot colder in other places, but step outside for a couple minutes; you'll see what I mean) ;-)

The difference between this morning and yesterday is that the air temperatures will be a smidge colder, but the wind will be lighter. I think in that light there will be no net change in how it feels.

There will be more clouds today than yesterday, with some flurries coming in by way of a weak low-pressure system rotating in from the lakes.

NAM - Wednesday Night NAM - Early Thursday

(if you've just arrived on the scene here, well, welcome... but I just wanted to point out that the purple and blue blobs on the above maps indicate precipitation. The dashed lines indicate sub-freezing temperatures right beneath cloud level)

In the end, it looks like a light, fluffy snow, but that also means it can look like more than it is.

NAM - Snowfall Projection - By Thursday PM

Remember, the models are pulling this accumulation from around 0.1" of liquid equivalent precipitation, so even if parts of our area get as much as an inch or two it should not cause too many hassles. You should be able to brush it off the windshield instead of scraping it. However, if it arrives right at the evening commute tonight, we all know lower visibilities in snowfall aren't any picnic. Most of the accumulations will be (as usual) affixed to the ridgetops and mountains, but this time even ridges closer to the rivers should also get a piece.

Turning Attention to the Main Event...

The models are inching the timing of this storm back a little, now into the day Friday instead of the overnight, but they are also flipping over to a colder solution compared to yesterday. Just like we did yesterday, let's look at how the GFS model changed from run-to-run.

GFS - Friday Afternoon - Most Recent Run GFS - Friday Afternoon - (Minus One) GFS - Friday Afternoon - (Minus Two)

Those are actually three different runs of the same model spread out over 18 hours projecting Friday afternoon's weather. Looks pretty consistent, doesn't it. Instead of an Ohio Valley storm system that phases southern stream energy into one storm, this has the look of an "Alberta Clipper" streaking through the Ohio Valley from the north. The Euro is also hopping into the snow category...

ECMWF - Friday Morning ECMWF - Friday Evening ECMWF - Saturday Morning

For those interested, the red dashed line that is going under the tri-state on these maps is the 540-thickness line. In a previous blog post we talked about how these "critical" thickness lines can often dictate the rain-snow line for an approaching storm. Now, the Euro is indicating a slightly different appearance than the GFS, whereby the approaching Clipper system transitions into a coastal low right at the mountains. This would be a good thing for snow-lovers because it would (a) serve to keep more moisture concentrated in our area, and (b) pump in colder air right when otherwise we would see a pre-frontal spike in temperatures.

Now that this system is within NAM range (< 84 hours), I'd like to show how this one is looking at things, because it's got a much better grid resolution of both data and terrain. For this, it should be respected.

NAM - Precipitation Type - Friday Afternoon NAM - Precipitation Type - Friday Evening

This model is still trying to pinch in some warmer air right toward I-64. This implies a start as snow, then mixing to rain (along the Tug), then back to snow and staying as such until it ends. Another problem for the snow-lovers is that when the transition to the coastal low occurs, the NAM is sapping a lot of the moisture away from the western side of the mountains and concentrating it on the eastern side. A final thought for the snow-lovers out there (and I'm not trying to be a killjoy-- honest): The result that has verified most often this year is the one that leaves the river cities area and parts of eastern Kentucky on the warmer/wetter/lamer side of things rather than snowier. That's probably a good thing to remember when salivating of snow possibilities. However, it's still possible to generate more snow from this system than any other that's come by this season for the folks that have been shut out so far (I know that's a pretty low bar in that case) :-)

First-Call Numbers:

Here's what the GFS and NAM are looking at for snowfall projections:

GFS - Snowfall Projection - By Saturday Evening
NAM - Snowfall Projection - By Saturday Evening

Until it shows otherwise, I'm still inclined to go with the shorter/lighter numbers for eastern Kentucky south of I-64, but I'm coming around on the couple-inches of snow idea north of I-64 from Portsmouth to Hurricane to Charleston. The highest amounts will be from Beckley to Richwood to Canaan (the usual suspects), though perhaps a little more concentrated in the southern-half of that.

Here's what my "first-call" looks like:

I see the Huntington area right around that 2" mark, but I'd shade just under it, and then in the Charleston area it's more like 2-3". For me it's easy to envision the higher ridges above the valley floors to get as much as 2" more (as I'm betting the ridges of Putnam and Mason county would call in with, as would perhaps Pea Ridge and the higher spots up I-79). In parts of eastern Kentucky and right along the Big Sandy a wintry mix (and perhaps even straight rain) is going to contaminate snowfall amounts, but we should be able to squeak out a little something for y'all too ;-)

We still have some time... let's see how things go with another set of models. Feel free to ask questions and make comments in the discussion section below :-)

Update (8:30pm) - That thin ribbon of snow showers angling into our region from the northwest, the one we talked about on the noon show, is now showing up pretty well on radar. As I write this, areas from Jackson, Ohio across to Ravenswood, WV and onward through Sutton are seeing this band of light snow. Winter Weather Advisories are posted for the counties underneath this band. Overall accumulations will still stick in the 1-2" range of fluffy snow, but the larger point to be made is that a lot of the snow appears concentrated within this particular band at the moment, leaving scant else for others to expect in their yard tomorrow morning (unless the band shifts).

I'll be getting a post together in the next few hours on Friday's event, so stay tuned for that as well.

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!


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