High water, high winds a formidable pair

HUNTINGTON/CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Our winter may not be known for snow (yet, at least), but it has not been lacking for wild events. Take Tuesday evening when squalls roared through the region to cap off the latest siege of rain.

Just after 5:30 p.m. in Huntington and just before 7 in Charleston a cold front armed with a torrent of rain and lashing winds (peak gusts near 40 mph) raced through with the latest dagger (for now) in this wet weather pattern. The new rains sent small streams in Southern Ohio to the brink of overflow. The high winds chased soccer players off the pitches at Shawnee and felled several large trees from a soft soil.

Areal flood warnings were issued by the National Weather Service for much of Southern Ohio and far Western West Virginia.

As for the Ohio River, the National Weather Service will be running their computer models overnight to update the predicted rise on the river. Tuesday afternoon predictions had the river nearing and going above flood stage through the Belleville, Byrd, Greenup and Meldahl pools Wednesday through Friday. But since less rain fell than forecasted, those new crests predictions may be scaled back.

Here is the key website for latest crest forecasts from the NWS.


Behind the squalls, the temperature dropped dramatically as colder and drier air arrived on the heels of westerly winds gusting to 30-40 miles per hour. By 10 pm readings were already in the 40s area-wide with 30s as close by as Portsmouth and Vanceburg. Those winds were to thoroughly dry roads out pre-dawn but with one important caveat; namely, where water pools off hills or under overpasses or lingers on steps/sidewalks, the dampness will intercept the pre-dawn sub-freezing air. That’s a recipe for patchy black ice!

As for snow flurries, the suddenly cold air will be able to wring out enough flurries for a dusting or skiff of snow especially in Southern Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Central WV north of I-64. Since snow showers will pepper down until at least noon in the mountains, an inch of wind-blown snow is likely in towns like Richwood, Webster Springs and Elkins.

By afternoon skies will turn blue and the wind will stay blustery as a February winter chill reminds us it is still mid-winter and too soon to throw the towel in on Old Man Winter.

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