Wet Snow Coats Much of Region

“Nice” Snowfall Works Magic

This morning’s pristine snowfall proved to be as nice as they come in winter. Arriving a few hours behind schedule, most school districts were able to get the kids to class for a day of learning. As temperatures rose and solar radiation penetrated the clouds invisibly, paved surfaces remained mainly just wet or slushy.

Now if you live thru the Southern Coalfield region, I am hearing that no accumulation occurred with only a light mix of snow and rain. I will be adding e-pics of the snow to satisfy your “vicarious” needs later on tonight, so check back.

Why the delay in the snow? Well, in this case, what amazed me was how long it snowed aloft before reaching the ground. At 11 last night, I showed the 3D Doppler Radar depiction of a growing area of snow across Kentucky. As I recall, there were green smears as close by as Olive Hill and Grayson.

Since the nearest report of snow hitting the ground was in Indiana at 11, I speculated that snow would not actually start until right before dawn. With ground and air temperatures in the 20s, it appeared we were in for a slick morning rush hour.

Remarkably it would take as many as 8 hours for that area of snowflakes to actually reach the ground. In effect, the snowflakes were evaporating before reaching the ground since the air was very dry. Once the atmosphere moistened, then and only then did it snow!

Now in recent blogs, I used the word “nice” to describe a few snowfalls. As Marina mentioned at noon, the snow looked pretty on the grass and cars, but roads remained mainly wet or a bit slushy at worst. In my book, that’s a “nice” snowfall. I am hedging that the amount of salt used to treat today’s snow was tiny compared with other events this winter.

I shoveled twice at my house today a total of 1.5 inches. The first time around 10:30, I pushed aside a powdery inch of light, fluffy snow. But the late morning texture of the snow turned wet and sticky. So when I shoveled a second time at noon, I needed more elbow grease to remove the half inch of slop and had a hard time getting the thin slime of slush off the pavement. I warned my neighbors of a night of black ice ahead.

As for tonight, a fresh dusting of snow can recoat the ground, but no new “accumulations” are expected except in the mountains. Careful if you are traveling the turnpike this evening as heavy snow is creating a real mess toward Beckley and Oak Hill. Also the trip from Sutton to Summersville is going to be snowY thru say 8 PM.

The main concern now is the freezing of slush and standing water into ice. Temperatures will tumble into the teens locally with some single digit readings in the mountains. Thursday promises to be a “thumb number” for kids waiting for the school bus.

So many school districts may well delay school again in the morning as a precaution for the black ice. You can sign up for a personal e-mail on school delays and closings sent right to your PC right here at WSAZ.COM.

Speaking of looking ahead, the next winter storm will send a messy mixed bag of snow, sleet and rain our way by Thursday night. The prospects of a small accumulation of ice will need to be closely monitored, especially in the Southern Ohio ice belt.

As for next week’s storm, there are indications a major storm will be brewing for the Appalachian Mountain chain. But this storm doesn’t exist right now, rather it is a figment of my imagination. The target day for this event is next Wednesday. Stay tuned especially if you are traveling!

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