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Updated - Our Storm Winds Down, But An Active Snow Pattern Remains

I realize there's a lot of different events coming in over the next several days, but let's talk about this first one... because I know y'all want to :-)

I decided to put this update on top, I guess to be more confusing ;-) ... It's a different day you know...

Update (8:30am Sunday) - The bulk of the accumulating snows are finished for this event, with the exception of the WV mountain counties where upslope conditions can bring on that extra push that we've been predicting. There are a few more impulses of light snow rotating through the Ohio Valley, but they are not expected to bring the lowlands more than an additional coating to the ground.

There won't be much of a break though, because yet another system advances on the region for Monday. This one figures to also be a snow-maker, however it's an open question as to whether counties south of I-64 will avoid rainfall. Temperatures will be rising above freezing there for a time. I will update with a blog post later today.

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Updates Below (most recent 7:30pm)

Okay, so let's put it out there :-)

I've been up 23 hours... but I wanted to get you the numbers and my thoughts.

So here's how the NAM is covering the progression of the event:

NAM - Midday Saturday NAM - Saturday Evening NAM - Sunday Morning

I'm liking this timing element, and I think it's important to pay particular attention to the prolonged nature of the event in the mountain counties of WV on Sunday. This is where we will be getting the exponential accumulations. The start of the day should be okay enough, but once the flakes start flying, they'll keep doing it right through the night. This time around the event will be more prolonged, so the opportunity for thunder-snow will be less, but in the end, we'll get more for accumulations.

Here are the numbers from various sources, the average of which we'll call "consensus".

NAM - Projected Snowfall GFS - Projected Snowfall

(as usual, click on the image for a larger pop-out).

Here's the National Weather Service forecast for tomorrow's event too:

(Click on the image for a larger pop-out).

Now, the great part about this upcoming forecast is that we just had a test-run example of a similar storm cut through just a day earlier. We got to see how much snow was able to fall with a certain amount of liquid equivalent and all of that. For this reason, I think all the models and all the forecasters are going to be tightly clustered around the correct forecast instead of a larger spread like has been in other storms.

This one figures to be a stronger event than the last one, but it's also going to be a wetter one. What I mean by this, is that temperatures are going to be a lot closer to the freezing mark, and the water content in the snow is going to be higher. The typical snow conversion rate is 10:1 given an initial amount of liquid water coming to town. Last night's snow was more like 30:1 (which is very dry and fluffy). Even if the final tallies in your neighborhood are "just" equal to what we just went through, it still will be a much better snowfall for snowman snow or snowball snow.

Here's what I'm thinking for our Groundhog Day snow:

Groundhog Day Snowfall Forecast (mine)

This is a decent swath of snow, and may well replace yesterday as the biggest event in the last two years for many in the River-cities area (not even close as far as snow goes when it comes to SuperStorm Sandy in the WV Mountains). Speaking about the WV Mountains, skiing is a great idea this weekend and next because of all the fresh powder. Despite the cold temperatures today, Saturday will feature warmer numbers. Though still below freezing, salt has a much better shot at being effective at numbers near 30 than below 20.

Perhaps a number of you may find this second event more manageable given the snow is spread out over almost 24 hours, rather than just 4 or 5 (and you'd be right). But, as far as this one goes, it is looking a little better than the last one. Folks in the mountains can certainly get a lot more, especially if their locally colder temperatures allow for the flakes to fluff out into a drier snow.

I'll be updating this post during the day Saturday (well, I guess now today) ;-) ... Feel free to add your comments, questions, and snow reports in the blog section. I'll also respond to what I can-- I love the interaction we have here.

Stay tuned for future blog posts as well, because our weather pattern isn't changing yet, which means more clipper systems sliding through. Just like we talked about in our Winter Weather Preview back in November, it looks like this second-half of the season is where winter actually feels like showing up.

Please follow the tracking maps below for all the latest on where the snows are, what our temperatures look like, and the most up-to-date information on our weather watches, warnings, and advisories.

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Update (8:00am) - The most recent data has come out since the overnight, and it's making me think that shading to the lower end of the presented ranges is best for the lowlands. Not that I want to change my "last call" forecast, because once I make it, I either gotta love it or I gotta eat it ;-)

Anyway, because the temperatures are going to be closer to freezing during the event, the consistency of the snow will still be better than the fluffy stuff we got last time. The fluffiness will also be one of the ways that we can squeeze out some extra accumulation in the eastern counties of WV that happen to be in the single digits right now.

One of the things I wish I were seeing more of, is "vertical velocity". It may sound paradoxical, but upward air motion is what's necessary to get more precipitation (and snowfall) to come down. The storm system is still moving on schedule, if not a little ahead of schedule, but the models aren't big on the juice. Also, in a prolonged snow event (in this case lasting through Sunday), there's always the risk that we do get the amount of snowfall forecast, but the effects of time allow for snow compaction and settling even as the snow keeps falling, resulting in lower totals than normal. I think the area National Weather Services are hip to this as well, for look at the larger Advisory Map:

Not a single Winter Storm Warning in the bunch, all advisories; in the mountains, the valleys, the south, the north, everywhere. I would have thought by now someone would be upgraded if this storm was indeed going to end up in the 3-6" or higher range. Having the snow fall over a 24-hour period is much more manageable on the roads compared to a 3-6 hour period right before the morning commute :-)

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Update (8:45am) - I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the high water issues that are still in existence around the tri-state as a result of the flooding rains we had a few days ago. All the run-off rainwater is still flowing into the Ohio, and as the Ohio swells up the tributaries will simply get backed up as more water flows through them as can be successfully evacuated into the already clogged ohio. This is going to continue to be a problem through later today as the Ohio crests and slowly recedes. The emergency crews are usually on-top of this sort of thing, so even posting which roads are closed as of now could be a fool-hardy exercise as they open the roads the second those roads are safe, and close others the moment the water gets crazy (theoretically, anyway). Just be safe on them, and don't ever drive across a flooded roadway.

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Update (4:30pm) - The accumulating snows have taken a break for the most part off the mountains. In a situation like this, the snowfall rate has to be such that it overcomes the natural geothermal energy of the ground and the likelihood of settling/compaction of already existing snow. One of the reasons why we're in this position is because of the above-mentioned vertical velocities. They're pretty weak right now.

Tonight we'll see the air temperatures drop a bit and a reinforcing shot of energy kicking us back up again. Already we've had 1"- 3" of snow widespread across the region, with another 1"- 2" expected tonight. All told we'll easily reach the forecasted range, though I wonder (again) if the spread out nature of the snowfall will permit too much settling and all that to reach the number.

At least it's the fun kind of snow this time. The kids love it! :-)

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Update (7:30pm) - Temperatures have dipped just enough for the snow to start sticking once again off the mountains (the mountains have been sticking for the whole time). The bulk of the snows are now pushing across the Ohio River to set up shop along I-79 and Corridor-G. Folks can see another inch or two in those areas, though it may not perfectly fluff on top of the existing snow. Places in Ohio and northern Kentucky should see scattered snow showers, but most of the accumulation has passed you by.

Sunday will bring another round of snow which should be good to recoat the ground a little, but this one is primarily for the mountains. We should see totals in Nicholas County on up through to the ski resorts crossing 6".

I will probably just keep this blog post active tomorrow as well, before making a new full post later tomorrow for the next snow system. It appears our string of snow-makers will continue ;-)

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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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