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March Eyes a Lion-like Debut

Despite Friday's near 60 degree highs, Tony's crystal ball sees some mighty wintry times ahead next week. His latest blog is a boon for skiers but a bust for spring lovers.

 

Winter Lurks for Feb’s Finale and March’s Debut
 
It’s the last weekend of February and wouldn’t you know it, the weather is finally settling down. Good thing since this Friday the 22nd has been one of the weirdest days of the winter. More on Friday’s topsy turvy conditions later.
 
For now though I want to draw your attention to a fascinating weather pattern that promises a massive dose of cold and snow for much of the Northeast including our region later next week through the first weekend of March.
 
Here’s a look at the pattern as depicted by the latest run of the much respected European weather model for late next week.
 
 
ECMWF - NA - SL Pressure/500mb Height - 6day
 
 
If you can find our little 3 state corner of the world (just below the blue kidney bean shaped blob, a bit  right of center) you will notice 2 black circled ovals in close proximity. The first has 1002 written on it near Detroit Michigan while the other sits below and to the right of the 1002 contour near Nags Head NC.
 
These are reflections of two low pressure centers that may form into one powerhouse storm in the Atlantic next weekend. Since the blue colors represent cold air and since the two lows are symbolic of a collective moist air flow, we have the makings of a several day period of cold and snow commencing mid next week and perhaps lasting for a solid a week or more.
 
The intriguing thing about this forecast is that the Euro is joined by its Canadian and American counterparts in unanimity that it will indeed turn cold and snowy here.
 
Here’s the Canadian equation projection.
 
 
And the now here is a look at the much maligned and often inferior American model.
 
 
While all 3 models display the atmosphere with a different color scheme and spatial resolution, they are all on board that March will roar in like a Lion next week.
 
So as I said on 5:30 Edition today. I am still on the hook for the heaviest snowfall of the season (for downtown Huntington-Ashland-Ironton-Charleston) based on a prediction I gave 2 weeks ago.
 
A pattern like this gives me a fighting chance to still verify. It would take a 4 inch snowfall to make that a winner, since there has not been a snowstorm this winter that has given those DOWNTOWNS 4 inches in one snowfall.
 
For my good friends Jane and Steve who have been wintering in Florida this month, you may want to postpone your return trip until March 16th, after all, legend has it we should “beware the Ides of March”!
 
As for Friday’s bizarre weather, here’s my first hand account of the sloppy shenanigans.
 
Just after midnight a sleety rain arrived and pelted down at a fast and furious pace. The pinging of ice balls off the window pane was a sure sign that a few hour ice storm had set in.
 
I left the studio around 1:30 and amidst the heavy face stinging icy rain the sudden reality hit me. My car had been glazed over by a thick sheet of ice. Grabbing for the ice scrapper, I chipped away at the ice as I became soaked in water. I chose the longer, slower trip home along Fifth Avenue and Route 60.
 
The Morehead State police had told me at 11pm that the interstate was just wet, but that was 2 hours ago I thought and I wanted nothing of I-64 just in case.
 
At ground level, roads and sidewalks were more slushy than anything, though heeding my own advice I remembered the golden rule; namely, slush is a form of ice, melting ice, and very slick to travel upon.
 
At home I watched the weather through my windows and on my home PC as I caught some Z’s in between weather observations. The trees glistened and crackled in the teeth of the icy wind while the steps grew more shiny minute by minute.
 
By 5AM an important weather change! The wind changed direction to the southeast and suddenly the rain ceased. In a matter of an hour, the ice began to “let go” of exposed objects. The predicted pre-dawn thaw had set in.
 
We were out of the woods from an all out ice storm and by the first light of day the temperature had risen to 35 on my porch and 38 in Charleston.
 
The grey morning skies allowed for a steady though slow warm-up to near 45 by lunch time. Right where I had forecasted it!
 
Then a glimmer of sun, then another and walla temperatures were off to the races. My 50 degree forecast high was soon eclipsed by 1pm and by 4 pm the mercury had risen to 60 degrees. That was 10 degrees higher than I had banked on! Can you say busted forecast?
 
Yes it felt like spring time by late day as the first crocus of the season burst forward on what proved to be an incredibly interesting late winter day!
 
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