Snow, ice and rain being experienced in West Virginia.

The Free Press WV

While some parts of West Virginia are recovering from quick snow accumulation Sunday evening into Monday, others are experiencing heavy rainfall and some are bracing for threats of ice on Monday evening.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Maura Casey says this is a typical February in the Mountain State with sloppy but different weather conditions arriving in different parts.

“This state you can break it into basically three completely different worlds and you’re going to have different weather occur pretty much everywhere,” she said.

The snow came in quite a hurry Sunday, Casey said, especially along the U.S. Route 50 corridor and the Northern Panhandle.

“The Route 50 corridor in the western lowlands and the areas north of there got up to two inches of snow in a pretty quick burst,” she said. “The amounts weren’t very high but as motorists saw on the roads yesterday, your visibility can suffer quite a bit.”

Meanwhile, spots in the state are continuing to face potential flooding as the rain that started Sunday is forecasted to continue into Tuesday evening.

In West Virginia, numerous counties along the Ohio River are under a Flood Watch as the NWS Charleston says rainfall amounts of 1.5 to 3 inches are expected Monday into Tuesday. Those counties include Cabell, Jackson, Lincoln, Mason, Pleasants, Putnam, Tyler, Wayne, and Wood.

“It’s February,” Casey said. “This time of the year, the problem that we face is a lot of the ground is frozen. If the ground is frozen, not a lot of rainwater can seep into the ground. A lot of it turns into runoff which turns into flooding.

“Another factor is the vegetation is in dormancy for the winter, they can’t suck up the water.”

Casey said this is the typical pattern of flooding in West Virginia in late winter heading to early spring.

She added that some areas sit right around freezing temperatures throughout most of February and that can bring ice. Casey said the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia faces significant icing early Tuesday morning into midday on Tuesday.

The NWS in Baltimore/Washington D.C. has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Hampshire, Morgan, Berkeley, Hardy, Western Grant, Eastern Grant, and Eastern Mineral from Monday afternoon through Tuesday morning.

While winter only has a little more than a month left on the calendar, West Virginia saw snow as last as early April in 2018. Casey said that is something to keep in mind when you’re seeing temperatures above freezing in the extended forecast.

“If snowfall isn’t your thing, we can be cautiously optimistic with the current pattern we are looking at,” she said. “It’s looking more rainy. You can mention that we thought this last year too but then we got snowstorms and school closures in early April. Appalachian weather is a little tricky.”

West Virginia Officials Warn of Possible Extreme Cold

The Free Press WV

West Virginia officials are warning residents and motorists about possible extreme cold weather this week.

The state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said Governor Jim Justice asked it and the National Guard to prepare for cold conditions expected through Thursday.

The agency warned about threats to humans, animals and property brought by extreme temperatures.

It encouraged residents to check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and not to leave portable heaters, wood-burning stoves or fireplaces turned on when away.

Daytime highs across much of the state will range from single digits to below zero, with overnight wind chill temperatures of 25 below zero or lower in portions of northeast West Virginia.

Light snow is possible in much of the area.

The release said highway workers will be ready to treat major roads as needed.

Cold sets in for West Virginia

The Free Press WV

The new week will open with frigid temperatures in West Virginia and meteorologists said it would feel even colder due to high winds that were blowing through the Mountain State on Sunday on the heels of storm system packing rain, ice and snow.

“Single digits, wind chills in the negatives,” was the Monday morning forecast, according to James Zvolensky, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston.

On Sunday, wind gusts nearing 40 miles per hour were being recorded in parts of West Virginia.

Wind Chill Warnings, most of them taking effect on Sunday evening, were posted for all or parts of the following counties into Monday: Webster, Pocahontas, Randolph, Preston, Tucker, Grant, Mineral and Pendleton.

A Wind Chill Warning means the combination of very cold air and the wind will create dangerously low wind chill values.

Frostbite can occur quickly and even hypothermia and death if precautions are not taken for possible wind chills as low as 30 below zero.

The Wind Chill Advisory list included all or parts of these counties: Monroe, Greenbrier, Upshur, Barbour, Raleigh, Fayette, Pocahontas, Nicholas, Webster, Randolph, Hancock, Brooke, Ohio, Marshall, Wetzel, Marion, Preston, Monongalia, Hampshire, Morgan, Berkeley, Jefferson, Hardy, Grant and Mineral.

A Wind Chill Advisory means cold air and the wind will combine to create wind chills as low as 20 below zero.

Again, frostbite and hypothermia can occur if precautions are not taken.

As of Sunday, the National Weather Service out Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Md. was reporting 6 inches of snow in Ridgeley and three inches in Keyser in Mineral County, W.Va. along with two inches of snow at Berkeley Springs in Morgan County and two inches at Falling Waters in Berkeley County.

Snow totals reached similar amounts in the most northern portions of the Northern Panhandle and climbed higher Sunday in some of the Eastern Mountain counties.

The West Virginia Department of Transportation said there were slick road conditions statewide.

“All the moisture on the ground from all that rain is turning to ice pretty quick, especially with the dry wind,” said Zvolensky when he spoke with MetroNews late Sunday morning.

At one point Sunday, Flood Warnings were in effect for Opequon Creek near Martinsburg in Berkeley County due to heavy rain and snowmelt along with the Tygart Valley River at Mill Creek in Randolph County.

Another cold night was in the forecast for Monday night in West Virginia before slightly milder temperatures Tuesday ahead of the arrival of the next weather system on Wednesday.

All 55 counties: Weekend will end with coldest temperatures of the season

The Free Press WV

West Virginians will see heavy rain, snow, ice and frigid temperatures from a strong storm system set to impact the Mountain State from Saturday morning through Monday morning.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Maura Casey said all 55 counties will be impacted.

“We expect heavy accumulating snow up toward the north, especially in the Northern Panhandle. You have an opportunity for heavy rain with a possibility of flooding toward the Tri-State (Huntington area) and into the south central mountains and then when you get into the north central mountains and the Eastern Panhandle, especially the Eastern Panhandle, we’re looking at a heavy icing front,” Casey said Friday on MetroNews “Talkline.”

The National Weather Service has timed the different elements of the storm. It expects a wintry mix in the mid and upper Ohio Valley and northern and eastern counties from Friday night into Saturday. Heavy rain is in the forecast for the Ohio River Valley into the central and southern mountains from Saturday into Saturday night. Snow will be area wide Saturday night into Sunday morning with the heaviest in the Northern Panhandle. Gusty winds are expected Saturday night through Sunday night especially in the eastern mountains. The holiday weekend ends with bitter cold temperatures and wind chill from Sunday night through Monday night.

“When all is said and done very cold air will be filtering in on Sunday which will lead to some snow showers but mainly bitterly cold temperatures for everybody,” Casey said.

It will be single digit temperatures by Monday morning statewide with wind chill at -20 in the northern mountains. The frigid temperatures will continue into Monday night, Casey said.

“It’s definitely looking like a good weekend to stay indoors,” she said.

Weather Advisories, Warnings

The Free Press WV

Mild temperatures that began the first full week of January will quickly turn to winter weather conditions Wednesday morning.

The National Weather Service has placed more than two dozen counties under a Winter Weather Advisory beginning at 7 a.m. Wednesday.

Snow is expected from Preston County in the north to Mercer County in the south. The advisory also covers an west to east area covering Wood to Randolph counties.

An advisory from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday includes Jackson, Wood, Pleasants, Tyler, Lincoln, Putnam, Kanawha, Roane, Wirt, Calhoun, Ritchie, Doddridge, Boone, Clay, Braxton, Gilmer, Lewis, Harrison, Wyoming, Raleigh and Pocahontas counties.

Total accumulations of 1 to 3 inches is expected in the lowlands with 2 to 4 inches in higher elevations.

A second advisory for parts of Taylor, Upshur, Barbour, Fayette, Nicholas, Webster and Randolph counties calls for 3 to 5 inches of snow with locally higher amounts.

According to the National Weather Service a Winter Weather Advisory for snow means “periods of snow will cause primarily travel difficulties. Expect snow covered roads and limited visibilities, and use caution while driving.”

The state’s highest elevations in Randolph and Pocahontas counties, including Snowshoe Mountain, have been placed under a Winter Storm Warning for Wednesday with 8 to 12 inches of snow forecasted. The warning is from 4 a.m. Wednesday to noon Thursday.

Record rainfall was the story of 2018 weather in West Virginia

The Free Press WV

Fans of rain certainly enjoyed 2018 in West Virginia.

Record-breaking rainfall was the story of the year in the state weather wise.

“This year has been unusually wet,” Andy Chilian, WSAZ Meteorologist, said. “For example for Charleston, this is the wettest year on record. And the records go back in the late 1890s.”

Chilian said Charleston broke its 2003 record of 61 inches of rain by more than five inches. Yeager Airport in the capital city measured 66.56 inches of rain on the final day of the calendar year.

2018 broke the yearly record for rainfall for a lot of places in the state while one month broke the monthly record.

“September in Charleston was the wettest on record by far with 11 inches of rain,” Chilian said.

February also brought heavy rain in the middle of last winter, as bodies of water across the state flooded. This winter has gotten off to a wet start as December in Charleston has seen rain five inches above normal.

While the rainfall is certainly the story of 2018, especially in the winter months, Chilian said that caused another storyline for the year for him.

“The lack of snow,” he said. “We saw the first flakes back in November but we haven’t seen any type of major snowstorms here. Really even earlier this winter, we saw some in January but other than that there was a few here and there but nothing major in terms of snowfall

“We had our usual spring rains and summer thunderstorms.”

The end of 2018 is ending with more showers and unseasonably warm temperatures as New Year’s Eve saw temperatures around the state hit 60 degrees and above and New Year’s Day into the 50s.

New Year’s Day of 2018 saw temperatures around the state well below freezing as Charleston was in the midst of a two-week stretch with low temperatures in the teens or single digits.

Chilian said with the systems of rain continuing to move through, all it takes is some cold air to deliver significant snowfall in the early months of 2019.

“What we will be watching for is seeing if we can get colder air,” he said. “Be aware of this because we have been in a stormy pattern recently. We have seen mainly rain from these storms but if we are able to get some of these cold air from the artic to combine with this moisture from the South, that’s when we could be seeing a major snowstorm.”

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