Snowless December Nears an End


                              Latest First Snow in 25 Years
OK snow lovers, here’s a flash that I am sure you are going to yawn at. Snows are late in arriving this season. Given we are half way through the Holiday season and even the ski resorts are struggling to keep their trails snow covered with machine made snow, that comes as no surprise. But in the “tell me something I didn’t know category”, by my records, this is the longest we have waited for a dusting in the Huntington-Ashland-Ironton-Charleston area since I arrived from Pennsylvania almost 25 years ago (for the winter of 1987-88).
To be fair and complete, parts of the Coalfields such as Floyd, Pike and Boone, Logan and Mingo Counties had a coating back in November and Chris showed me video of a late night dusting a few weeks back in Greenup County. But seeing is believing and since the vast majority of folks have not come close to seeing even a dusting of snow, the judge says we have not had the first snow of the season yet!
The latest arriving first coating of snow in my quarter of a century of forecasting the weather here in Appalachia dates back to December 26-27,2001. So unless we come up with a dusting of snow on Tuesday, it will be a truly dubious and historic start to the winter snow season of 2011-2012.
Now the Monday evening weather charts do show a strong area of rain churning thru the Mississippi and Lower Ohio Valleys. Rains are falling from Vicksburg to Memphis north to St. Louis and Evansville. As this storm center approaches, still another soaking rain will arrive by dawn Tuesday. A healthy one inch rainfall is ticketed into our region for the back to work bunch. That means morning rush hour will be a wet and soggy affair.
The morning long soaking will back up some storm sewers as it musters some nuisance street flooding. A rumble of thunder is possible during the early downpour in the Coalfields. Then as afternoon unfolds, colder air will begin to funnel into our region. The morning chilly, steady rain will turn more sporadic and showery by afternoon as the wind picks up. Those winds will funnel colder air our way so rain will mix with sleet and wet snow during the afternoon thru Southern Ohio and Northern Kentucky and points west into the Mountain State by dusk.
It is likely that much of Southern Ohio will see a grassy and rooftop coating of snow on Tuesday evening with a squall even whitening the grass in the evening in parts of West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky. Still the ground is warm and will do its best to repel much of the evening snow.
By Wednesday morning, cold air will be in control so some black ice issues are possible where water is left standing. The WV mountains should get a few inches of snow, perhaps even 4” at the summits.
Next real chance of snow you ask? Early in the new year there is a chance of a good rain to snow storm, but this winter, until I see the whites in its eyes, I will be skeptical.
For the record, I ran into a few teachers while shopping at the Kroger last week. They pleaded with me for some snow this winter. I will tell you what I told them and you can quote me
   “Ladies I believe we will have the deepest snow of the young 21st century this winter, one or 2  heavy wet bough benders. I base this on the active storm pattern that will roll across the US from the Pacific all winter long and the fact that there is plenty of cold air in Canada to be tapped in the next 3 months. Sooner or later those air streams will meet up!”
    So far this century, out biggest snows have been in the 6” range. Do the math, I expect one or two 7 inch or deeper snows this season. Stay tuned!
Here’s a link for our West Virginia ski reports. Let’s hope January and February make for the dismal start to the ski season!
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