This Sunday afternoon has turned B & B, blue and breezy, as a fresh cold air mass has arrived from Canada. Careful of those gusty westerly winds to add a bite to the 35 degree air temperature.
In the mountains, those winds will gust to 40-50 miles per hour making ski lift riding a real adventure.
Last night's snow was typical of this winter of 2013-14; namely, light and fluffy. Roads were treated and some driving problems crept in especially in Kanawha County where Metro 911 reported that BIG TYLER RD AT DOC BAILEY RD AND BIG TYLER RD AT CRYSTAL DR in CROSS LANES were shut down after midnight due to icy roads in the hills.
Overnight accumulations ranged from a dusting for many to 2" in Athens Ohio and Craigsville WV with Snowshoe and Canaan Valley reporting 3 fresh inches of powder.
Looking ahead to Monday, ML King Day, sunshine and moderating temperatures will see highs make the 40s, with 30s in the mountains.
By Tuesday, much colder air will be taking hold again as a chunk of the Polar Vortex (aka the Meteorological North Pole) returns to the USA.
There has been some mis-information on this vortex this winter. The vortex exists every winter, starting out on top of the world at the Magnetic North Pole where Santa Claus lives. As the winter proceeds, the deep snowpacks of Eurasia (Siberia) and North America (Northwest Territories, Yukon, Klondike of Alaska) vie for the bragging rights of the coldest air in the northern hemisphere.
In early January that vortex broke loose and bodily moved into the Great Lakes of the US and even crossed the Ohio Valley. That helped to sponsor the coldest air of the still young 21st century in our region (officially Huntington fell to -4, Charleston to -3).
After retreating to the Hudson Bay the past 10 days, a chunk of the vortex is about to break off and make a pass into the Northeastern US. This will help sponsor the second coldest air of the season as nights dip below 10 degrees and days struggle to get above 25.
Only if the mid week snows fall more than expected would we challenge zero degrees again.
One final word, just because your pipes did not break 2 weeks ago, do not let your guard down. This week's harsh cold is to be respected as another candidate to burst your bubble (pipes).