Snow Moving In...Roads Soon To Get Slippery
A weak wave of low pressure will nonetheless bring the first widespread snow accumulation of the Winter to our area today into tonight. In fact, folks down in the Coalfields of Kentucky and West Virginia have already had up to 1" of snow under a band that set up this morning. Drier air around Huntington and Charleston has so far kept the snow from reaching the ground but the air is moistening and flurries are now coming down as of 10:30 AM. The snow will pick up as we get into the lunchtime period and early afternoon. While a lull may settle in after that first batch...expect another round of moderate to even heavy snow to move through by late this afternoon and evening. That will be associated with a strong "jetstreak" that will set up across Tennessee and force air to rise over our area. Combined with the local terrain this should help generate a healthy snow that will be aided by cold temperatures and will fluff up a bit more than it sometimes does.
By nightfall we should have about an inch or two on the ground in most spots (maybe 3 in the Coalfields) and snow will continue to fall steadily up through midnight. After that the jetstreak will shift east and we'll lose the lift a bit, so steady snow will break up to more scattered activity. The majority of our snow accumulation will be from this afternoon to midnight. With the heaviest snow falling during the evening commute the concern for serious road impacts are there so the quicker you can get home the better off you'll likely be. A number of schools across our area are already letting out early for the day.
While amounts aren't especially high with this event (it will end up being about 1/8 to 1/10 of last January's snowstorm) the timing and the temperatures are what make this a potentially high impact event. Even when the snow tapers overnight secondary roads in particular will be snow covered. Any snow that gets packed down will turn to ice thanks to temperatures falling into the teens.
It still looks like a general 2-4 inches of snow is in the works for the Kanawha Valley. Farther north and west amounts should be lighter, with a general 1-2...maybe 3" over near Huntington and eastern Ohio. South and east of Charleston totals will likely reach about 4-6 inches in places like Beckley and Fayetteville. I've got eastern Kentucky and the Logan area outlined in 2-4 for now but the band this morning may help push you closer to the 4 to 6" mark when all is said and done.
Cold weather will be the rule for Friday and our weekend as high temperatures struggle to crack 20 and we fall to 10 or lower at night. While it looks quiet here another wave tracking farther south than this one looks to bring a significant snowstorm to the North Carolina and Southeast Virginia area. That would start Friday night and continue into Saturday so keep up to date on the forecast if you're heading south down I-77 or east on I-64 into Virginia this weekend. In fact, Charlotte and Raleigh, NC may end up with more snow than most of us do!