Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
Weather, photography and the open roadClick for an important message
Storm Highway by Dan RobinsonClick for an important message
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                   Monday, December 8, 2008 - 4:25PM

Into the clear, 60+ degrees Tuesday; chase logs back

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As it seems like most persistent patterns do, this one tried to get one final jab in this morning before relinquishing its grip. A threat of freezing rain in Charleston from the arriving warm front prompted me to awaken at around 5AM and go on standby through noon. Thankfully, dry surface air kept anything from reaching the ground or intensifying over Kanawha County - and after noon, were were above freezing and in the clear. I never even had to leave the house. It appeared there were some problems in Huntington and points west (in southern Ohio, Indiana and Illinois) where rainfall rates into the subfreezing air were enough to overcome the dry surface conditions.

This rise above the 32°F point marked the end of the unbroken series of winter patterns that have gripped West Virginia for nearly a month. While we will be dipping back below freezing during a couple of overnights later this week, they should be precip-free periods that most likely won't require my attention. A big winter storm will affect the midwest during the next few days, but will be distant enough to the northwest to keep any snow far away from us.

As for severe weather prospects, I'm actually thinking a lightning chase may be possible tomorrow night. Models show a potent squall line associated with a cold front approaching during the overnight hours. With gas so cheap, a quick run into eastern Kentucky for some lightning shots would be doable if the line turns out to be active enough.

Toll from December 6 storm rises

A Daily Mail article reported 50 accidents in Monogalia County with 23 injury responses, 40 in Marion County and 30 in Ohio County. That's just a small sampling of three northern West Virginia counties. Those numbers (along with the 100 wrecks in Kanawha County) suggest that statewide, the total number of accidents from Saturday's icy roads could be over 1,000, with injuries topping the 300 mark. A second death was also reported in Monogalia County.

There are few weather hazards that can claim those kind of numbers in a single day. Again, those are WV-only stats - this storm affected a wide swath from the upper midwest to the Atlantic coast. I can only speculate what the totals might be along the storm's entire path. 500-600 injuries and 8-10 fatalities would probably be a conservative estimate. Those are alarming numbers to think about.

Expedition logs are back (and updated)

I finished restoring all of my storm chase logs from 1993 to present, and updated the list with recent events from this year. The chase XML feed is also back into active status.

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