Coldest December Day Since 2008 Expected Thursday
A cold front passing through last night has brought some colder air to our region this morning. Temperatures have fallen to around 30 with wind chills around 20 to 25 for most...and it's colder up near Route 50 and interior Ohio. However, this is not the arctic cold that we're anticipating to blast in here. That's settling into the Midwest this morning and heading our way, arriving later tonight. In the meantime, today will be chilly but tolerable as some sun breaks out and temperatures rebound to the mid to upper 30s. With winds dropping off for a time it will feel like Winter but it should be reasonable to go out and get some errands done.
Clouds will roll back in toward sundown ahead of that arctic front and I think a few flurries will quickly form near I-64 by early evening. That band of flurries will drop south and could strengthen into a heavier band of snow briefly, resulting in a quick half to 1" of snow for areas south and east of Charleston, especially near and east of US 19. It's not a lot but it could come down quickly enough to make for tough travel in those areas just before midnight so be alert. This is especially so since temperatures will be plunging by that time and winds will be turning gusty.
Flakes will quickly quit overnight but we'll fall down to near 10 degrees in the lowlands and single digits in the mountains by Thursday morning. Combined with winds gusting to 25 to 30 mph I expect wind chills to be around 0 in the valleys and -10 in the higher terrain...and likely -20 to -25 on the highest ridges!
This airmass is very dry so ironically I think Thursday will end up being our sunniest day in a long time...but don't be fooled. Temperatures will struggle to a high of only 19 or 20 in the afternoon and with winds still gusting wind chills will hover in the single digits at best. This will mark the coldest day in the month of December since the 22nd of 2008, which was the last time temperatures failed to reach 20. That was also the last time we fell into the single digits in the December too and I think that can happen Thursday night as high pressure moves in. Winds will drop off and at least initially skies will be clear. However, some mid-level clouds will approach toward dawn. How quickly those clouds move in will dictate exactly how cold it gets.
Those clouds are with a push of milder air that will start to move in Friday into Friday night. "Mild" is relative...we'll struggle to reach 30 Friday afternoon. Then as a storm tracks to our west we'll watch for some precipitation to break out Friday night. With temperatures near or below freezing and a cold ground we're concerned for a period of freezing rain in the overnight hours. This would last longest north and east of I-64 before changing to rain Saturday morning. This isn't the kind of icing that would cause power problems but it could definitely make for some icy travel overnight Friday. By mid-late morning Saturday, however, most everyone should be safely above freezing and we'll actually get up near 60 in the afternoon Saturday. Then when a cold front rolls through Sunday morning temperatures will drop again. Some steady rain Sunday morning will change to wet snow. Whether it sticks or not remains to be seen but expect it to be blustery and much colder for Sunday compared to Saturday.