Storm Update 12/12/10
Posted by wxgeek on December 12, 2010
Good Morning Everyone,
The storm has dropped about 1/4 of an inch of rainfall last night in Beckley according to the airport measurement. Only light rain was reported. Now light snow is falling despite the temperature being at 34-36 degrees. Why is that happening? I will explain…
For example, Beckley is at about 2,500 feet above sea level and the atmosphere is cooling rapidly from the top down right now. As the atmosphere cools the precipitation will changeover from top to bottom. However, it will not stick on the roadways until the ground also cools to 32 degrees. I do not expect this to happen until later this afternoon and evening. I do not expect I64 to be snow covered until late tonight/Monday morning. Only the secondary roadways and cars will ice up and become snow covered this evening.
One thing that weather forecasters underestimate with a storm like this is the “dry slot.” The dry slot is a wedge of dry air that gets wrapped until the storm as it winds up. That dry slot will be here this afternoon and the precipitation will stop for a time being. However, the atmosphere will still be cooling and the roadways and ground temperature will be lowering. We will only see an inch or two today as far as the snow accumulates on grassy surfaces and cars. 90% of the snow from this storm will not fall until late tonight through Tuesday. I expect almost all schools to be closed tomorrow morning with sub zero wind chills, snow covered roads, and limited visibilities at times. Tuesday morning will be the same, but the snow will be lighter by then, yet still accumulating.
I will not be changing my snowfall prediction, I rarely, if ever do. There will not be much liquid with this storm, but the liquid to snow ratios will be very high, 25/30 to 1. That means we only need a total of a half of an inch of liquid to get 12-15 inches of snow. It means the snow will change from heavy and wet, like it is now, to very light and fluffy.
I will be continuing to monitor the situation from home and am always in constant contact with our weekend meteorologist. If things get worse than I predicted then I will go in tonight. If things go according to plan then i will see everyone monday night at 6 with the latest forecast.
You can continue to track the storm here on my website using the radar screens. Snowfall totals for this area are very hard to find. I will get them to you tomorrow at 6.
Travel safe tonight through Tuesday.