Good Friday to one and to all! We’re moving closer and closer into winter, and Mother Nature is letting us know that by the weather outside. We are right in the midst of a very cold air mass, along with the chance for accumulating snow for some folks as we work into the second half of the weekend.
The 12 a.m. Friday examined surface analysis shows a polar front now passing across our region and is now to our southeast. A southern storm system is ushering northeast along that front and will move into the northeast this weekend. An area of high pressure lurks to our west across the central U.S. – meaning temperatures will not be getting too warm in the near future (click to zoom).
Our remainder to our Friday is looking quiet, though the clouds will be tough to break at times, as some low stratus clouds accompanying a southern storm system will keep over our area a good chunk of the day. Precipitation will remain south of our region, but the cloud extent of that storm system will keep things from warming up. With that in mind, high temperatures for our Friday will just break freezing in the lowlands, with upper 20s expected for the highlands. On the flip side, the cloud cover will keep temperatures from really hitting rock bottom at night. Dew points in this dry air mass are in the teens, and where the skies are clear across Indiana and Illinois, low temperatures of 10-15 degrees are being reported. With the cloud cover over our region, the lowlands will only fall into the lower 20s, with upper teens for the highlands.
The GOES East infrared satellite indicates plentiful cloud cover for areas south and east of the Ohio River. This will keep temperatures from warming more during the day, but will keep temperatures from plummeting at night.
As we roll into our Saturday, we’ll see similar conditions as Friday, as a southern storm system continues to glide south of us from southwest to northeast. We’ll continue to see low-hanging stratus clouds as a result of that storm system. During the afternoon, we should begin to see a few more breaks in the cloud, but our next storm system will begin to arrive. This time, it’s our first winter-type storm of the year: an Albert clipper system. The fast-moving system will drop down from Canada during the day Saturday, and will approach our area as we head into the evening hours of Saturday. If you’re a snow fan, unfortunately, this clipper appears to run out of a good chunk of its punch as it approaches our area.
Late Saturday morning, the Alberta clipper shows up on the map and is ready to drop into our area. Meanwhile, the southern storm continues to shoot northeast toward New England.
By Saturday night, what’s left of the clipper system arrives in our area, dropping mostly a light rate of snow. The southern storm turns into a nice snowstorm for parts of New England.
It will definitely be sufficiently cold for snow to fall Saturday night into Sunday, but the airmass that our region is in is a dry one, and so a lot of the snow that will be with the system as it approaches our region Saturday will dry up by the time it reaches us. Nonetheless, some light accumulations are possible. Here’s what I’m thinking accumulation-wise accounting for melting Saturday night through Sunday afternoon.
I’m expecting nothing more than a quick dusting for elevations under 1500 feet. That’s pretty much everyone west of I-79. Once you go east of I-79, the clipper system, along with a little bit of enhancement due to upslope should allow for at least a few inches for the ski slope regions of West Virginia – every bit of snow helps that industry here in the Mountain State!
So again, this is not going to a be a snow storm that we’re going to remember even a few weeks for now, but it should dump enough snow even in the lowlands to possibly be considered our first measurable snowfall of the year.
This cold weather pattern looks to continue all the way into the new year, and I believe between now and the start of 2018, we’ll see better chances for accumulative snow in the lowlands. We’ll get into a nice discussion on the reasons for this setup this weekend. Enjoy the remainder of the day!
Be sure to check out our radar page to watch the snow move in for yourself! Updated every 5 minutes and on 24 hours a day for central West Virginia.