Arctic Air to Greet Travelers and Santa
The coldest air of the still young season is swooping into the region offering the prospects of a dusting of snow and frigid air in time for Santa’s trip in from the North Pole.
The leading edge of this polar plunge will be crossing the region on Tuesday morning armed with a band of snow flurries. Often in cases like this a dusting of snow that occurs from Columbus to Cincinnati to Louisville-Lexington turns into heavier snow showers in our region.
That booster shot of snow comes thanks to the UPLGLIDE of the arctic air as it ascends from the flatter ground in Western Ohio into the Appalachian mountains. We call that upslope and it is responsible for the enhancement of snow accumulations in our WV mountains.
Since the radar will often show no snow until the front starts to feel the mountains, it will be a wait and see Tuesday as far as who gets a dusting (usually Ohio Valley river towns), who gets a half inch to inch coating (favors the Kanawha valley) and who winds up with a few inches of snow (mountain communities from Elkins to Buckhannon to Webster Springs, Richwood and Beckley).
Travelers along I-79 and I-77 (including the WV turnpike) should be prepared for reduced visibilities and possible slick spots on untreated roads during the morning hours.
By Tuesday nightfall, any snow that fell will still be intact as plummeting temperatures set us up for a frigid night.
Midnight church goers will find the temperature near an icy cold 19 degrees with the stars twinkling brightly.
By sunrise Wednesday, Christmas morning will dawn with readings deep down in the teens, even as low as 5-10 degrees in the snow covered WV mountains.
Roughly half of WV and a slither of Southern Ohio and Kentucky will have enough snow on the ground to boast of a White Christmas.
Finally skiers, the snow guns are on non-stop at your favorite resort through the weekend as cold arctic air supplies great snow making conditions. In addition, these upslope arctic front days often produce a half a foot of snow at the mountain summits. Ski-lightful for sure!