Weekend Storm Looks Wet not White

Another southern storm is heading our way this weekend. TC says it's rain not snow this go-round!

El Nino Ends Snowy Spell

In the deep hollows near Clendenin and Whitesville WV, snow has laid on the ground since the great pre-Christmas snowstorm of 2009. That means a white mantle has glistened brightly for almost a month.

In my tenure at WSAZ-TV, I can remember only one other time snow stayed on the ground that long! Trivia Q & A, that stretch occured in December-January 1995-96.

For the rest of us, while the December snow washed away on Christmas eve, new snows arrived on New Years Day and have held tough thru the first 2 weeks of the new decade.

This week offered a stern test to that "snow on the ground" mantra as warming sunshine and southerly winds have gone to work. First the dry snows of January compacted with above freezing highs on Wednesday. Then temperatures made a beeline for the 40s on Thursday and Friday.

Left behind now is a bare ground downtown with still a few slushy inches of snow in the forests and hollows where the sun can’t penetrate this early in the year.

But a signature of the winter of 2009-2010, a new southern storm is warming up in the Gulf of Mexico bullpen. This next storm is moisture laden and capable of mustering an inch of water as it passes on Sunday. Coming from the south, we call these El Nino storms since they are born due to the warmth of the Pacific Ocean.

Had the cold air held its ground, we could easily have shoveled a foot of snow. Had the arctic cold dammed up in the mountains of WV, a crippling ice storm could have ensued.

But in this case all our computer models are suggesting the air will remain too warm for anything but rain for most of us.

There are two notable exceptions. The first, if you live in the Greenbrier, Gauley, New or Cherry River Valleys, the snow still on the ground will be stubborn to melt. That should keep your temperature colder on Sunday morning when freezing rain may glaze over windshields and bridges.

The other worrisome area runs from Snowshoe to Canaan Valley at approximately the 3 to 4,000 foot elevation level. Here the air may be cold enough for heavy wet snow especially on Sunday night. Skiers, given it is a 3 day holiday weekend, keep your fingers crossed. Right now I expect a messy mix on Sunday morning, rain in the afternoon then a change to snow at night into Monday morning.

For most of us, expect a dry Saturday with clouds and hazy peaks of sun followed by a soaking rain that will chill you to the bones on Sunday as wisps of fog cling to the hills.

With the weather nasty on Sunday I will be watching the NFL football playoffs and pulling for the Jets and Buddy Ryan's kid!
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