Weekend Shopping Weather Guide

No snow and ice this weekend so shoppers can rest easy. Tony has the moderating forecast prose.

Weekend Shoppers Weather Guide

It’s just 2 weeks before Christmas now so while Santa makes his list and checks it twice, shoppers will be hawking out bargains before the last minute rush takes hold.

This Friday evening, a quick look at the North American continent shows a cold arctic air mass has settled in. Along and north of I-40 (which runs from South Carolina to Oklahoma to New Mexico-Arizona and Southern Cal), tonight’s weather is best described as unusually cold for mid December.

Snow is on the ground along and north of I-80 which is setting up a classic refrigerator effect where the air to the north is chilled by the snow pack. Lows near or below zero will be common Saturday morning in states that border either the Great Lakes or Canada.

Meanwhile in normally sunny Southern Cal, the weather is cool and damp.

This trend of coast to coast cold so early in the season in tandem with the west coast rain storm (that’s El Nino at work) likely points to a very active snow period ahead in Appalachia in the 2 weeks leading up to New Years.

As for this weekend though, ice and snow will not be a problem. Sure late Saturday night when the first rain drops arrive from a weak southern storm, some sleet could bounce around for a few minutes. But an influx of milder air from the Gulf argues for a cold rain late Saturday night and Sunday morning with wisps of fog clinging to the hills.

The risk of freezing rain this weekend is low since the bitter cold of Saturday dawn (temperatures in the teens) will give way to a more moderate afternoon when highs reach 40. The exception to the no-ice rule will be the mountains near Elkins, Snowshoe and Canaan where early Sunday morning a glaze of ice is possible.

The reason we will be ice-free is that clouds will arrive late afternoon on Saturday preventing the usual evening plunge in temperatures needed for freezing rain and sleet.

Instead evening temperatures in the 30s but above freezing will greet Christmas party goers on Saturday evening.

Overnight Saturday thru noon Sunday, we will be in a damp and chilly air mass but wet not icy roads and dense fog over the cold ground will be our main worries.
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