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Travelers Weather Alert for March Snowstorm

Travelers Alert for Heavy Wet Snow

A heavy wet snowstorm is primed to race from Chicago to Indy then along I-70 to Dayton and Columbus and into Wheeling-Pittsburgh the next 2 days.
In time, the snow will make it’s way into wsaz.com territory.

Visibilities will be low in falling and blowing snow. Here is a look at my predicted travel conditions on major interstates in our region. As always a prediction can change in a heartbeat, so use this as a starting reference point.

I-64 Louisville to Charleston; Rainy Tuesday through early evening with a change to melting wet snow by sundown in Louisville, 9pm in Lexington and midnight in Huntington-Charleston. Snow would then slush up that route overnight into Wednesday morning.

I-64 Beckley to Lewisburg to Roanoke; Tuesday rain at Shoemaker Square in Beckley will turn to wet snow in Lewisburg into Virginia. Daytime accumulations will not be much on highways. Beckley will change to snow at night with accumulations measuring 4” by dawn Wednesday increasing to 8” by the state line in Virginia.

I-77 Charleston to Bluefield.; Rain Tuesday with snow developing late at night. A plowable heavy wet snowstorm will make travel slow most of Wednesday from 12A until 12P south of the Kanawha-Fayette line from say Pax to Tamarack to Bluefield.

I-77 Charleston to Zanesville; Rain on Tuesday out of Charleston will change to wet snow/sleet in Zanesville. Roads wet in Z-Ville until dusk then a night time accumulation will begin.

I-79 Sutton to Clarksburg and Morgantown. Rain in Sutton will mix with snow by Jane Lew-Clarksburg during the day and turn to mainly snow by M-town. Accumulations will begin in earnest at night with a half a foot likely at WVU and lesser amounts the farther south you travel.

I-68 Cumberland to Hagerstown; Best to complete your travel plans by sunset Tuesday as this zone is in for blizzard conditions at night. Six to twelve inches of snow will clog this stretch of the highway with blinding snow reducing visibilities greatly. Travel is not recommended here after sunset Tuesday until Thursday morning.

I-71-70 Indy to Dayton, Cincy to Columbus; Heavy wet snow will melt by day but accumulate on these interstates at night.

Local Snow Accumulations

To say March has come in like a “cold” Lion is a bit of an understatement since the first 4 days of the month have averaged 9 degrees below normal. Those cold days were accompanied by frequent snow flurries with Charleston recording nearly continuous snow, granted mainly flurries, virtually all weekend long.

But to earn true “lion-like” status, March must truly roar both in terms of wind and precipitation. Enter Tuesday and Wednesday as a major winter storm passes with rain, sleet and snow!

As far Tuesday is concerned by day, most of what falls from the sky will be rain even in the low mountains with temperatures mainly well above freezing. The exception will be the Greenbrier Valley and the tall mountain summits where wet snow will accumulate on grass by day then the road at night.

Careful of a brief period of ice IF rain gets in quickly enough on Tuesday morning and intercepts a still cold overnight ground. Still the main risk to local travel on Tuesday will be wet roads. Localized street flooding will accompany the heavier afternoon and night downpours.

By Tuesday night, the atmosphere will undergo a sudden chill down with rain making the transition to snow from mountain top first to valley floor last. The quicker (or slower) that change the more (or less) snowfall we will see.

If you live above the 2,500’ level (Richwood, Webster Springs, Summersville, Lewisburg), the changeover will occur before midnight with a half a foot of wet sopping snow on the ground come Wednesday morning. Power outs are likely.

In the river valley towns of the Ohio, Big Sandy, Kanawha, Coal, Tug, Levisa, Little Sandy, Guyandotte, Hocking and Scioto Rivers, rain will change over after midnight Tuesday with accumulations highly elevation dependent.

As in the snow shield from Hurricane Sandy, the taller hills around Huntington, Charleston, Logan, Gallipolis and Ashland are likely to accumulate twice or three times as much snow as the valley towns below. Don’t be surprised if the hills measure 3 or 4 sopping inches while the valley towns have more melting, less sticking and measure only an inch or 2.


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