Weather Blog: It's Mid-February--where's the cold & snow!?

Good Saturday!

What a terrific day we saw on this Saturday--at least for mid-February standards. Instead of the mid 40s, where we should be this time of the year--temperatures soared into the mid to upper 60s on this 11th of February thanks to a southwesterly breeze and some breaks in the cloud-cover earlier today; that's more like April! As you would expect, though, this unseasonable warmth is the result of a weather-system heading our way--and it will be nearing from the west as the night goes on. Up until then, however--the evening is fairly dry and mild! We're expecting more spring-like warmth on Sunday--at least for parts of it--but does it linger into next week, too? When is the next shot of cold and snow? Will a big storm-system develop along the east coast this week? Here is your complete and detailed, seven-day forecast...

TONIGHT: Mostly cloudy, mild and turning breezy. Scattered rain showers increasing as the night goes on. A thunderstorm or two also possible. Low: 57.

  • After a relatively dry start this evening, showers are quickly developing tonight out ahead of a pseudo warm-front nudging in from the lower Ohio Valley. This surge of moisture and energy is associated with an area of low-pressure near Saint Louis--and will track just north and west of our region late tonight towards dawn tomorrow. Since low-pressures circulate counter-clockwise in the northern hemisphere, this means our region will be in the 'warm-sector' of this system for the next 12 to 18 hours--so expecting unseasonably warm air as a result. In fact, with thickening clouds, rising dewpoints and a southerly breeze in place--especially on the ridges early on--we'll be hard-pressed to fall below the mid 50s tonight! To put this in perspective, our average high should be in the mid 40s! Expecting the most widespread rain showers--and possibly even a few thunderstorms thanks to some 'elevated' instability--to occur this late evening and a few hours after midnight. This time frame looks to provide the best 'lift' (rising air) thanks to a strong low-level jet nosing into the region. Thereafter, any showers and/or thunder will become more scattered--as weak, upper-air disturbances will be the driving focus behind any additional activity. As the low-pressure draws closer late, which will place the low-level jet axis overhead, expecting a gusty, southwesterly wind to begin to take over. In fact, by dawn tomorrow--wind-gusts of 20 to 30 mph will be likely, and this should cause temperatures to rise into the 60s around dawn for the lowlands. More like an April or May morning! By dawn, most of the showers and any thunder should be mostly across parts of southeast Ohio and northern West Virginia--closer to the surface low and where the best upper-air energy looks to be. It's very unlikely given the time of the year and the time of the day, but will watch any convection that can develop in that corridor closely for any surface-based characteristics--as there will be plenty of directional and speed-shear in the lower to middle part of the atmosphere. Odds are, though, any convective showers and/or thunderstorms in this regime would be more 'elevated' in nature--thus little, if any, severe risk.

SUNDAY: Mostly cloudy, warm and windy with scattered rain showers--especially early on. A thunderstorm or two also possible. High: 69.

  • After an upper-air disturbance--which will produce a cluster of showers and possibly even a thunderstorm or two across the Route 33 corridor early on--moves east by the late-morning and early-afternoon, there won't be much in the way of forcing along the front to produce widespread lift; due to this, I think a good chunk of Sunday looks dry as opposed to wet for I-64. This especially looks true as the parent low-pressure moves further east across Pennsylvania, which will drag a windswept front through around Noon to 1 PM. Out ahead of this front, a gusty, southwesterly wind--exceeding 30 MPH at times--will catapult our temperatures into the mid to upper 60s early on! Especially true if a few peeks of sun can develop along the front, which is certainly possible given the waning moisture depth and a gusty wind to mix the air out some. While instability looks weak out ahead and along the surface front--not a surprise given the time of the year it is--enough may exist for a few rumbles of thunder to occur with any convective shower between noon and 2 PM; this is the time-frame where the front should sweep through in a west to east fashion. The kinematic, or wind-shear, environment does look impressive overall--but the lack of substantial surface-based instability should preclude any severe issues--especially given the time of the day it is. However, with the faster wind-flow just off the surface--any convective shower, though fairly scattered in nature--will be capable of producing 30-40 MPH Wind-gusts. By the mid to late-afternoon, our winds will quickly veer more out of the west-northwest behind the front--which will usher in cooler air as the day goes on. In fact, temperatures should fall into the low 50s by dinnertime--and with a gusty wind in place, it will feel noticeably cooler. Models show the low-pressure deepening and essentially becoming a 'cyclone bomb' off the New England coast overnight Sunday into Monday morning; while this won't directly impact us, it will tighten the pressure-gradient over the Ohio Valley--thus still producing a gusty, northwesterly wind in this time-frame. This upslope flow will provide lift, moisture and colder air for some rain and snow showers to develop by the evening and overnight--especially across the eastern, mountain counties. Winds will howl between 40 and 50 mph above 4,000 feet in the mountains--especially exposed ridgetops--and a coating of snow is likely there. As for the Kanawha Valley, temperatures will fall to about freezing by dawn Monday--a big change from Sunday! Although there will be plenty of moisture on the ground from recent rainfall, a brisk northwesterly wind should dry the ground enough to keep any icy problems at a minimum.

MONDAY: After some flurries and snow showers early on--mostly east into the mountains--turning mostly sunny, cool and brisk in the afternoon. High: 44.

  • Again, with a Noreaster off the New England coast--and an area of high-pressure building into the lower Ohio Valley to start the day--there will be a pressure gradient over our region; this means a brisk, west-northwesterly wind will still be with us, especially across the eastern counties. This 'upslope' flow should keep some low, stratus clouds in place--at least for the mountains--early on. Moist-enough and cold-enough air will probably allow for some of those low clouds to produce some flakes, too, especially along and east of US Route 19 to start the day; it doesn't look like a significant event, though. Eventually--most likely by 10 AM and on--a warm-air advection regime, aided by the high-pressure, will slowly begin to take shape, which should dissolve any remaining clouds left for the lowlands. This means increasing sunshine, as large-scale subsidence becomes the rule with a high-pressure drawing closer! Decided to be a little aggressive with the afternoon high temperature since the sun is gradually becoming stronger here in the middle part of February.

VALENTINES'S DAY TUESDAY: After a chilly start, partly cloudy and milder in the afternoon with a slight breeze. High: 52.

  • Recent model runs have trended a little murkier here. They appear to be struggling with some mid-level energy sliding in from the west-northwest during the afternoon. In fact, the latest NAM model suggests a skinny band of rain/snow developing across the Coalfields on this day. Decided not to bite this quite just yet, especially given the guidance from earlier today--but synoptically, I guess it's possible given a southern branch closed low over Oklahoma, which could indirectly be responsible for a band of forcing in that zone. I just don't see the low-level moisture return, though. Based on this, along with a weak area of high-pressure nearby--felt that partly cloudy skies sounded o.k. for now, though the sun may turn 'milky' in nature given the mostly zonal flow overhead. This type of setup can transport mid to upper-level moisture into the region faster than models indicate. Models do show a slight, southwesterly wind along the western periphery of this weak high-pressure, so that--along with at least some filtered sunshine--should push us to around 50 degrees. Not too bad for Valentine's Day!

WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny and turning breezy. A mix of scattered rain and snow showers late in the day. High: 46.

  • An intriguing set-up here across the eastern half of the country--but unfortunately, for snow-lovers, not intriguing enough. Models show a shortwave and accompany low-pressure system moving across southeast Canada--also one in the southern branch of the jet-stream across Alabama. The moral of the story here is that these two systems, according to medium range guidance, decide to join up late and into Thursday morning--but off the Northeast Coast. As a result, West Virginia will simply be too far out of the grasp of this deepening low for any jackpot snows. Nonetheless, the northern branch system will impact us late Wednesday into Thursday morning. Out ahead of this front, a southwesterly breeze--along with some filtered sunshine perhaps--will briefly push our temperatures into the mid 40s. By late in the day, increasing moisture and energy along and out ahead of the front will allow for a scattered changeover from rain showers to snow showers. This doesn't look to be an issue for the Kanawha Valley, but a light accumulation should occur across the eastern mountains, where a more persistent upslope flow continues into Thursday morning--aided by the flow around the Nor'easter off of New England.

THURSDAY: After scattered flurries and snow showers early in the morning--especially across the mountain counties--partly sunny, chilly and brisk in the afternoon. High: 36.

  • A day very similar to Monday synoptically-speaking--but colder. Models show a strong Nor'easter type low-pressure off of New England, while a high-pressure looks to build into the Midwest; this combination will allow for another brisk west-northwesterly flow in the lower atmosphere for the Central Appalachians and the Ohio Valley region. While the middle to upper part of the atmosphere looks dry, there looks to be a sufficient amount of low-level moisture, cold air and a favorable wind trajectory to manufacture some upslope snow showers--especially early on and east into the mountains. Otherwise, expecting the lower elevations to trend mostly dry for the 2nd half of the day as the high-pressure draws closer. After some stratus clouds early in the morning, some breaks in the clouds should occur thereafter--as the coldest pocket of air /thermal trough slowly shifts east.

FRIDAY: After a cold start, mostly sunny and milder in the afternoon. High: 49.

  • With a surface high-pressure nearly overhead from the night prior, this day looks to start cold around 20 degrees. Given the very dry atmosphere, though, it should be quiet at least. Temperatures should warm fairly quick by the late-morning and afternoon, however, as models show the high-pressure moving just towards our east. This placement of the high will allow our winds to gradually shift more out of the south--and with plenty of sunshine in place, too, due to a mostly dry atmospheric column--temperatures should make a run towards 50 degrees by days end. Not too bad!

SATURDAY: Mostly sunny and warm with a slight breeze. High: 65.

  • Looks like a spring type set-up here! As the high-pressure from Friday moves off the East Coast, a broad southerly wind will develop over our region--this means temperatures should rapidly rise. This especially looks true since the overall moisture in the atmosphere looks very thin with a building upper-ridge in place--which should allow for plenty of sunshine, too! Decided to go on the high side in the mid 60s here given the synoptic signal and the strengthening insolation this time of the year. Looks like a good one!

Have a great night and take care!

WCHS Meteorologist, Brandon Stover

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