A frustrating morning looms for your neighborhood forecaster. If anyone has been following the models during the past 24-36 hours, you have seen a lot of fluctuations. In fact, just in the most recent 6-hours as of this blog post, a whole lotta shakin's goin on. Check out the NAM model flip:
So in the past 6-hours, the banding effect has consolidated closer to the Kanawha Valley area and sharply declines to the west (enough to try to elbow out the River Cities entirely a la the 'donut hole'). Crazy. I'm sure it's a disappointing thing to see for the viewers there that love snowfall, but I figure it's worth showing.
The GFS does a little better, only consolidating a little bit:
It too shows a growing 'hole' forming in the River Cities area, but retains the banding effect with a pulse of decent snows run-to-run. This sort of consistency would normally make the forecaster more inclined to accept its output over a model that fluctuates, but a edge of pessimism has served me well over the years (many more snow events have come in under than over in my experience log). The translation of this is that I'd be very wary of a drop-off in snowfall totals west of, say, Putnam County in West Virginia, and in particular along the Ohio River border counties of Ohio and Kentucky.
Putting my own finger down, I'm looking for the Ohio River border counties of OH and KY getting 1" or less from this one... The interior Ohio counties getting 1-2" as a weak front tries to connect to the moisture arriving from the south. Eastern Kentucky counties along I-64 get 1-2", and south of there in the better moisture will be looking at 1-3". Above 1500' in southern Kentucky 2-5" of snow can still be seen in that band, though the banding can often add or subtract an inch when they finally arrive. Over on the WV side of things, the southern WV lowlands are also in the 1-3" category, with above 1500' getting an extra inch or two on top of that. The River Cities area is probably the most complicated of all the areas (what else is new)... I'd go 1-2" here, but the banding can also add/subtract an inch on this. [unfortunately that's just the nature of the beast... these things can shift 5-10 miles at a turn and it makes all the difference]. The Kanawha Valley looks a little better for snow, with 2"-4" a pretty good bet. Up I-79 I'd say the same thing, though east of there gets better accumulations, particularly above 1500'. In the high country east of Charleston, expect 3-6" of snow as the band has not shifted in any model runs off of these locations. On the other side of the mountains to the east, the totals again drop off because of mixing with sleet and rain. I believe that's everybody :-)
Travelers would appreciate this potential turn of events, but the school kids (and teachers) definitely would not. Don't get lulled too much though, there's still some solid snowfall timed with the morning drive right up Corridor-G and I-79. Be careful during the morning hours. Check out the imagery below to follow exactly where the banding sets up to see who gets the good snow and who is on the outside edge. Sometimes the forecast is set for days ahead of an event (like with SuperStorm Sandy)... Other times it's a moving target right up to the start. Hopefully you get what you want out of this one (whether it's a lighter or a snowier event).
Have a great day everyone!