Winter storm observing and the 'Warm Wedge'
The forecast model roller coaster lives year-round, not just during the spring storm observing season. A big winter storm has been suggested by the various models to hit the midwest, anywhere from a St. Louis - Chicago - Indianapolis - Cleveland region. Precip forecasts range from a foot or more of snow, an inch or so of snow, glaze ice, or just rain. With the models all over the place, it is hard to tell what to make of the upcoming week.
The worst of any such snow/ice storm will remain out of my expedition range. However, I'll consider a one or two hour drive west or northwest into Kentucky or Ohio Friday night, if it looks like West Virginia is going to suffer from the dreaded 'warm wedge' that keeps these types of snow events from reaching Charleston. The 'warm wedge' effect is simply the mountains blocking in a layer of warm air near the surface even after the cold front passes, keeping areas on the immediate west side of the Appalachians in the liquid precip (rain) mode. Last year, a similar system necessitated a drive west to Morehead and Vanceburg, Kentucky to get into snow.
We may even have some severe weather prospects on Thursday night into Friday, but climatology keeps me from getting too excited. As always, it's worth keeping an eye on nonetheless.
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