Anatomy of a Memorable Cold Wave
Late this Friday night there is a rare unanimity in our trusty weather forecast models. A cold wave the likes we haven’t seen in a score of years is planning its assault on our region for early next week.
It's birthplace in Siberia, this arctic air mass has punishing intentions.
While the exact details as to how brutally cold it will get are still to be determined, it can be said with surety that the feeling of the air will be like none we have seen since the Great Martin Luther King Cold Wave of 1994.
To refresh your memory that historical period feature the coldest weather of the 20th century with air temperatures plunging to -20 even in cities like Huntington-Ashland-Ironton and Charleston and rural hollows credibly falling to 30 even 40 below.
Here’s a blow by blow timetable for the arrival of the coldest weather of the still young 21st century.
After a breezy and relatively milder Saturday and first half of Sunday, football fans will be watching the Cincinnati Bengals play their NLF playoff game at Paul Brown Stadium in a cold rain mixed with sleet.
That messy mélange will arrive locally after dusk Sunday as light rain. Highs near 45 will assure the first surge of moisture will be wet.
If you want to know how our air will feel on Monday, check out the NFL playoff game at the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field in Green Bay. The Packer-49er game will be played with the temperature near -5 and windchill -25.
Then in a repeat of Thursday night’s event, rain will change to snow on late Sunday night into the pre-dawn of Monday as temperatures tumble below freezing. There are strong indications that roads will ice up in the transition.
The amount of snow to fall and accumulate will likely be a last minute event, though odds favor a similiar amount to what we saw on Thursday night.
Sunrise Monday will dawn with icy sidewalks and roads and temperatures near 10-15 degrees.
Unlike Friday when the daytime sun warmed temperatures to 20 by late day, readings will fall steadily all day long on Monday reaching near zero by sunset, especially north and west of Huntington.
From there with howling northwest winds a steady fall to -5 to -15 degrees is likely by sunrise Tuesday.
Why the wide range in lows Tuesday morning? Well, this is a Friday night call for a Tuesday event hence subject to change. More importantly, I would like to see how much snow lays out before attempting an exact low temperature forecast.
Simply stated, the more snow that is on the ground, the lower the temperature will get.