Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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                Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - 11:43AM    Storm Highway blog RSS/XML feedStorm Highway Twitter FeedStorm Highway Facebook page

The battle for spring begins

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Arctic air had a strong grip on our weather patterns before it was suddenly jarred loose yesterday, showing that winter is starting to fight a losing battle. There will likely be a few more light snow events (of course a major one can't be ruled out), but for the most part, we've officially begun the annual warming trend that will continue until the middle of summer. For the forseeable future, temperatures will stay above freezing both day and night. A big severe weather episode looks likely in the Plains and midwest this weekend, and West Virginia may even see the first thunderstorms of the year from this system on Sunday.

The sudden temperature rise brings with it some unique photo opportunities. I did some timelapses of melting snow yesterday that turned out fairly well (I'll post them here sometime soon). Before the big warmup, I was finally able to get some footage of the dynamic Kanawha River ice sheets, a phenomenon that we may not see again for a few more years.

My current project is capturing the massive icicles falling from the tall cliffs around town (a harder goal than I first thought). During our arctic cold weather, groundwater seeping out of the rock has created large ice/icicle formations on the cliffs that resemble giant frozen waterfalls. These of course are very dangerous to drivers, and some roads are occasionally closed until all the ice falls. When they eventually fall, the sight and sound should be spectacular. Catching them is not going to be easy. Temperatures will not be rising too much today, and the sky will remain overcast - keeping the melting process a slow one. Ideally, a sunny day in the 60F range would melt the ice fast and make capturing the ice falls easier. Exactly when they will fall is nearly impossible to predict. As it stands now, the only way to do it is to set the camera up, roll tape, and wait - for hours at a time. I made another attempt this morning, but there were no signs of immediate collapse of the bigger ice formations. I'll go back again later this afternoon after we've warmed up some more. I know I'm taking a chance of missing some of the action, but I'm not in the mood to stand along the road for hours right now and enduring the puzzled stares and interrogations of passersby and residents.

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