Snow Squally Start to Weekend
Where has winter gone? It seems we were just past Thanksgiving and hoping for a snowy 3 months ahead but instead here we are entering the last weekend of meteorological winter. To date the snow has been pitiful and when it did snow, it barely lasted a day. Last weekend's wet snowfall in the Coalfields was an exception to the lame winter.
Late this Friday night, the HD Doppler Radar scope is lighting up with some of the deepest blues of the season, a sure sign that snow squalls are on the prowl.
Think of a snow squall as a flurry that has had its Wheaties! Super charged and armed with strong winds and a burst of briefly heavy snow, the squall can lay down a quick half inch in a heartbeat (well, half hour). This go round, the ground is warm so the snow will melt on paved surfaces while coating the grass, rooftops and trees.
Trouble is the melting will leave roads wet and susceptible to black ice when the temperature drops by dawn. That tells me some bridges will need to be treated pre-dawn through say 10AM. So if you are taking the kids to youth basketball or ballet in the morning, use the trusty windshield test to your advantage. If the moisture has frozen onto the windshield and has to be either scraped off or defrosted, then untreated steps and bridges will be icy. If the snow, moisture is just damp and can be wiped away, then the road will merely be wet.
Most areas will have the grass dusted at dawn only to see the sun melt things away by mid-morning.
In the mountains, snow will accumulate several inches between Summersville, Nettie, Richwood and Marlinton. The climb up the mountain toward Snowshoe will be a snowy affair with blowing and drifting making snow measurement hard. There the road will be plowed several times. At the Top of the World, I would not be surprised to hear of 10” of powder by sun down Saturday.
By the way, I hear the ski lifts at Silver Creek bore the brunt of those fierce Friday evening winds with at least one lift having to close as a safety precaution. Winds gusted to 60 miles per hour on those west facing slopes late Friday afternoon.
By Sunday the sun will return and temperatures will moderate back toward 50 by day’s end then head into the 50s for the last few days of February.