Throw-Back Winter Upon Us

It's been 7 years since Tony has seen anything like this current winter pattern.

Taste of the Klondike Returns

There have been great winters before and even on a globally warmed planet, there will be great winters in the future. But clearly what we are seeing set up this January is a throwback winter to those thrilling days of yester-year.

Let me be specific, we have entered the harshest winter pattern since February 2003 and with each passing day the weather is looking more to me like the winter of 1995-96.

If you forget that winter, let me refresh your memory. It began snowing in November and didn’t stop until spring. In early January one of the greatest blizzards on record crippled our region. Snow fell 2 feet deep across much of Appalachia.

Remarkably, that winter, Charleston measured an astonishing 106.5” of snow for the season pulverizing the previous record set in 1977-78 by 30 inches.

The pattern we are in right now reminds me very much of the 3 weeks before the great blizzard of 1996 when it snowed virtually every day.

Now let me state I DO NOT SEE A BLIZZARD on our horizon yet, but this week’s snows so far are but a sneak peak of what is coming to end the work and school (or should I say play) week.

Sadly, kids are out of school and missing valuable time in the classroom this week.

In the short term, fresh coatings of snow predawn Wednesday will be followed by a hump day of off and on flurries amidst periods of sun. The sun will help clean roads that have not been treated with salt. Watch for refreezing at dusk Wednesday.

By Thursday, a rare arctic storm will pass thru with a healthy new accumulation of snow followed by a Friday and Saturday of strong winds that will create blowing and drifting problems. Near blizzard conditions will result in the West Virginia mountains where already 12”-30” of snow is on the ground. Check out the picture from Summersville in case you doubt me.

Skiers, the slopes will be primed with a rare Appalachian champagne powder this weekend, though making your way to a mountain chalet will not be easy.

On the thermometer, I expect weekend highs to struggle to get out of the teens by day with night-time lows in the single numbers if not near zero. Factor in the wind and we have the makings for an intensely cold weekend ahead.

At Snowshoe, Canaan, Timberline and Winterplace, weekend highs will struggle to get much above zero with windhcills of -20. Of course skiers are a hardy bunch!

That also holds true in Cincy this weekend for the Bengals-Jets playoff game where the coldest "Who-Dey" game since the Ice Bowl in 1982 is in store. Look for a game time temperature of 13 with windchill of -10 (compared to the '82 game when the temperature was near 0 and the windchill unGodly near -50).

If you are traveling this weekend, make sure your car is winterized and as always have a cell phone and safety kit on hand in the event you break down.

I will elaborate more on this Alaskan pattern on Wednesday as Klondike Tony makes his triumphant return.

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