Polar Vortex arrives with a vengeance

Published: Dec. 22, 2022 at 8:15 PM EST
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - After a tame, mainly snowless December, the flip of the calendar from fall to winter is introducing our first shot of truly arctic air this season.

The Christmas holiday weekend will be the coldest we have shivered through since 1989. It all starts Friday pre-dawn, when a burst of snow will team with plunging temperatures and howling winds to turn our world into a Klondike wasteland. So harsh with the wind blow and bitter will the temperature be that old time Cincinnati Bengal fans will conjure up visions of the infamous 1981 Ice Bowl at old Riverfront.

Friday midnight will start with temperatures in the 40s as light rain falls. By first light of day, the mercury will have plunged below 10 degrees with even near zero readings in the Scioto Valley. The overnight rain to snow pattern will deposit a quick 1″-3″ of wind blown snow with a new accumulation possible on the high ground of the Kanawha, Elk, Little Kanawha, Tug and Guyandotte Valleys. So, a general 2″-4″ will have laid out overnight across most of the region.

Travel conditions will be hampered by snow and ice on the ground and roaring winds making for an ungodly wind chill. Anyone caught outside in the cold will be a candidate for frostbite.

Friday will feature a roaring wind, barbaric wind chill and blowing snow on the ground amidst periods of new flurries. A daytime dusting to one inch is likely.

Saturday and Sunday will retain the bitter winds, though skies will leak periods of sun amidst passing leftover flurries. Weekend highs of 15-20 and lows of 5-10 will preserve what snow is out there in time for a White Christmas.

A mid-week moderation next week could see highs in the 50s by Wednesday and Thursday.