Active weather pattern ahead
It's a good thing that Comet McNaught's display was near its peak yesterday evening, since Wednesday was the last full day of clear skies we will see for a while. A dizzying period of active weather will be hitting the country in the next few days, from snow and ice storms in the Plains to flooding rains here in the central Appalachians and Ohio Valley regions. I'm not sure which aspect of this system I want to focus on. While winter storms have joined tornadoes, lightning and hurricanes on my list of favorite weather phenomena to experience, Oklahoma is just a little too far for me to go right now - although if I had unlimited funding, I'd be on my way there this morning. But, the prospect of flooding could prove enough to occupy my time here in the next few days. Right now the rains don't look to be too bad, probably nothing warranting a drive out of town - but this threat being here at home is much easier on the wallet (or should I say my Speedway gas card).
So what happened to our snowstorm on Tuesday? Well, the snow came as expected - the flakes were flying all day (outside of the warm river valleys) but surface temperatures just could not dip below the freezing mark here in Charleston. With a snow event, the surface freezing point is always a pivotal concern. The heavier snow squalls on Tuesday succeeded in coating some cars, trees and grass, but these dustings quickly melted in the 35 degree air. If we'd been a few degrees cooler, Charleston may have seen up to three inches of accumulation by the end of the day. As usual, our neighbors in the mountain counties were blessed (or cursed, depending on your view of winter) with subfreezing temperatures for the entire event. Beckley hovered in the high 20s for much of the day, which meant that all the snow stuck up there (once you got above 1500 feet or so, around the Mossy/Pax area on the turnpike). At one point on Tuesday afternoon, the weather instrument station at the Beckley airport reported heavy snow with thunder and lightning (thundersnow)! I guess I should have spent the day up there, but with Charleston looking to get a decent snowfall, I wanted to save my gas money. You can't get them all!
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