Widespread Snow On The Way Thursday!
We've had some tastes of Winter over the last month, especially last Friday with some brief squalls that blew threw. However, with marginally cold temperatures that day much of the snow that fell didn't stick around for long...especially around Charleston and Huntington. That looks to change as we head into tomorrow and Friday.
A cold front that passed through this morning with some rain showers (that changed to brief snow in the mountains), is ushering in some much colder air to our region. Clouds are clearing out and we'll end up with a lot of sun this afternoon, but it will be almost 30 degrees colder than the last two days when we had all those clouds. Temperatures will hold in the 30s and gusty northwest breezes will put our wind chills into the 20s. The cold air is settling in and setting the stage for our snow event tomorrow.
A clear sky initially this evening will start to fade behind some high and then mid-level clouds overnight. Those are associated with a weak wave of low pressure tracking out of the Missouri Valley. What this wave lacks in strength it makes up for in that it will be spreading precipitation into a cold airmass...much colder than the one in place last Friday. As a result, snow that falls will have a "fluff" factor and will stick much more efficiently. Thursday at sunrise should be cloudy and quiet but light snow or flurries will be close to the Scioto Valley and I would expect it to spread across the Tri-State not too long after the morning commute has ended. We could start seeing flakes around the Kanawha Valley around lunchtime but the snow will pick up during the afternoon and early evening. As a result, roads could start to get slushy and slick as the snow peppers down and I wouldn't be surprised for some early dismissals from schools. The evening commute could certainly be tricky so be ready for a slow-go coming home from work.
Steady, moderate snow is likely to fall Thursday night when the bulk of the accumulation is received. It should still be falling at dawn Friday but I expect it to taper down in the valleys during the morning and should be done by midday or early afternoon. In fact, a little sun may break out in the afternoon...but don't expect much, if any melting. Temperatures will hold in the mid 20s.
As far as accumulations go, expect a general 2-4 inches across the area, with slightly higher amounts possible south/east of Charleston near US 19. This will be a pretty high impact event given the colder ground and the prolonged (18-24 hour) snowfall. Not a huge snow, of course, but sure to cause travel troubles, especially from sundown Thursday to sunup Friday.