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                   Friday, November 14, 2008 - 12:35AM

Prolonged winter weather episode starting Sunday

By DAN ROBINSON
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If you don't have your winter coats, gloves, hats, ice scrapers and salt out and ready, now's the time to do it. The new (00z) run of the GFS indicates a week-long episode of winter weather (significantly cold temps and snow) for West Virginia and surrounding states starting on Sunday morning. The culprit is a huge, persistent eastern trough bringing very cold air down over the eastern half of the US. Ptypes after Sunday are shown as nearly all snow areawide, with temps dropping into the low 20s several nights in a row while a string of QPF (precip) episodes pass through. Monday night into Tuesday morning, Thursday morning and Thursday night all have the potential for accumulating snow events in both the lower and higher elevations. Thursday even looks like the first 'big' winter event of the season for the state - with subzero temps in the mountains, highs struggling to top the freezing mark in Charleston (and the lower elevations), and a big blob of precip (QFP) in the middle of those. If that verifies, we may see 2 to 4 inches here in Charleston on Thursday, with a foot or more in the highest elevations.

Admittedly, we're talking about 7 days out on the GFS, so that may change considerably as we get closer. But, something that significant showing up definitely bears watching. Nonetheless, Tuesday morning does look more and more like the first dusting of snow / icy road event for Charleston and the lower elevations of the state. Sunday morning is a little more iffy for Charleston, but more certain for the mountain counties as far as another upslope snow event.

I'll post more about this upcoming system later, and will likely start a running-update blog post soon. While a system this cold and long-duration is not unheard of this time of year, it is a little unusual for mid-November, and therefore worthy of special coverage. One thing is for sure - whatever normal sleep pattern I had the past 2 weeks is going to be gone starting Saturday night.

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