Wheeling, WV (WTRF) – From the Desk of StormTracker7: A winter system is expected to move into the Ohio Valley as we head into the end of the weekend and early Monday morning that could provide significant snowfall.
There are many questions that are still be to answered but here is what we know so far.
This system will pivot into the Central Plains and into the Tennessee River Valley by Saturday, picking up energy in the atmosphere and some additional moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.
It will have its sights set for the Ohio Valley and surrounding Mid-Atlantic as we transition into Sunday.
Here is where the uncertainty start to take shape. There are two potential paths that the center of low pressure could take and drastically influence our weather: A southerly and northerly track for the center of low pressure.
Scenario 1: Southerly Track
Model guidance has recently trended towards a southerly route, but there is still some uncertainty with upper-level dynamics in place.
This is the scenario you do not want to play out if you are looking for high snow totals.
The farther south and east the center of low pressure goes, the less likely we will see significant snowfall in the Ohio Valley.
If the low coasts through the Chesapeake Bay area, we will likely only see a trace of snow and possible rain showers locally.
Scenario 2: Northerly Track
If you are looking for a bigger snowfall, you want the center of low pressure to ride along the Appalachian Mountains and to the west of the Chesapeake Bay.
This scenario is favorable for colder air in place with a mainly snow event for the Ohio Valley.
Now there are a few possible trends that the weather models do not pickup for our local area.
There is a Winter Storm Warning in effect from Sunday at 1pm through Monday at 1pm. This was issued by the Pittsburgh National Weather Service.
SO HOW MUCH SNOW?
There is plenty of different factors, phenomenon, and atmospheric variables that need to fully play out when we talk totals.
However, we can say that we should see significant snow from Sunday afternoon into the Monday morning commute.
These are some preliminary snow totals of what we could see for snowfall Sunday into Monday. They are still subject to change as we get closer to this system moving through.
There could be as little as 2-4″ and upwards of a foot and a half depending on where the center of the low tracks and how dry air plays into the forecast.
Oftentimes we are dealt a wildcard and have to deal with what’s called a warm wedge. This is a pocket of air that is warmer than 32 degrees Fahrenheit and can fully derail and bust a forecast. Central and Northern WV typically experience this warm wedge due to the circulation around a weather system.
This diagram showcases how precipitation can be significantly altered if we see any nudge of warmer air through our region. Weather models do not pick this up and this event could move an issue with high snow totals locally.
The StormTracker7 Weather team will continue to track this system, update snow totals, and give you the latest on-air and on our website.