Weekend Storm Worries
A major winter storm will pass through the Eastern US this weekend and create all sorts of travel headaches. Here’s my best forecast as of Friday evening for ports of call within a tank full of gas.
STAYING AT HOME
Let’s start out locally where I expect mainly rain to fall from Saturday afternoon through dawn Sunday. While a touch of sleet is possible at the onset, no icing is expected in our immediate area. This includes the I-64 corridor from Morehead to Charleston, the I-79 ride to Jane Lew-Weston and the trip along the Ohio River including State Route 2 from Huntington to Parkersburg, Route 7 from Proctorville to Pomeroy, Route 23 through Northern Kentucky and down the Country Music Highway to Pikeville and Route 23 to Portsmouth.
By Sunday colder air will rush in and rain will change to snow showers as temperatures fall through the 30s and into the 20s at dusk. Roads may become slick as a small accumulation occurs by nightfall. Church service travel in the morning should just be wet. School delays are likely by Monday morning.
GREENBRIER and SHENANDOAH VALLEYS
An ice storm is likely in easternmost West Virginia and far Western Virginia commencing Saturday evening into Sunday morning. While roads will be thoroughly treated, the trip will be slowed not only by the sleet and freezing rain falling, but also the dense fog that will cling to the hills.
It now appears that both the Queen City and Ohio’s state capital will not have a severe ice storm on Saturday. A cold rain mixed with a little snow at the start can coat car tops for awhile, but heavy accumulations are unlikely here through midnight Saturday. Shoppers heading to Easton or the German village in Columbus should allow extra time for the cold rain.
In Cincinnati proper, that cold rain will not freeze until pre-dawn Sunday. Still, air traffic into and out of Cincy International will be slow due to low ceilings on Saturday. By Sunday, de-icing will be needed as a few inches of snow accumulate and roads become slick.
I am heading to Lexington this weekend to see my favorite thespian, Meteorologist Marina Jurica, put down her isobars in favor of some opera singing. Marina has the lead in the play SHE LOVES ME at the Lexington Arts Center. Since I expect just rain Saturday I have decided to make the trip for the 8 PM show. This is a change in plans as originally I expected to take in the Sunday matinee.
But my gut tells me roads will be slick in Lexignton Sunday morning and will turn slick in Huntington Sunday late afternoon and evening. I am therefore playing it safe by traveling on Saturday.
Big football games this weekend will be played in snow and rain with cold winds. In Cleveland, a half a foot of snow will fall starting Saturday afternoon and become heavy at night when rain and sleet will mix in. Sunday’s game will see wet snow with second half winds harsh.
In Pittsburgh Saturday will be a sloppy day with a small accumulation of snow and sleet at night that will turn to a messy, slushy rain by Sunday dawn. The Steelers game with the Jags will be cold and wet with rain and wet snow.
Travel to the capitol district is recommended before afternoon on Saturday. Leaving Charleston at say noon should be fine all the way to the Beltway. But waiting until 3 PM to leave will expose you to a developing ice and snow storm in the I-68 stretch through Preston Co WV and Garrett County Maryland.
This 36 mile stretch is notorious for adverse weather and with as much as a foot of snow to fall after an ice accumulation, travel in this stretch will be slow anytime from dusk Saturday through dawn Monday.
NORTH CAROLINA and SOUTH
A trip along I-77 on Saturday will be dry through say 3PM with light sleet likely in the late afternoon and evening. Rain will then escort you into the Carolina Piedmont where fog will cling to the hills into Statesville and Charlotte on I-77 and into Greensboro, Winston Salem, Raleigh- Durham on I-40 and I-85.
Ice and snow accumulations will be moderate to heavy here commencing Saturday morning through midday Sunday in Indy. Any trip here that can be put off until next week should be delayed.
As for Dayton, snow to start with a few inches by early afternoon Saturday will be washed away by rain at night. New snow accumulations are likely on Sunday as it turns colder.