Weather Alert for December 20-21, 2012

By: Meteorologist Jonathan Kennedy Email
By: Meteorologist Jonathan Kennedy Email

The Winter Weather Advisory and Wind Advisory posted for our region have been allowed to expire Friday evening.

Gusty winds will continue to effect travelers and motorists overnight, but the showshowers and winds are expected to die off. Wind chill will continue to be a factor, so anyone venturing outside will want to dress warmly.

Update: Friday 10 p.m. 12/21/2012

The High Wind Advisory and a Winter Weather Advisory continue for our region until 10 p.m. Friday evening. Roads will continue to be slick in places as snowfall continues sporadically with gusty winds to 35 m.p.h.

Update: 2pm Friday 12/21/12

UPDATE: 7:53 AM 12/21/2012

The winter weather is creating a headache for some drivers already this morning.

The eastbound lane of Interstate 33 (west of Logan) is shut down due to an accident. Traffic is beginning to back up. Drivers are encouraged to take an alternate route.

Driving in winter can be dangerous if the proper precautions are not taken. The National Weather Service has these safety tips for motorists:

Driving safely on icy roads
1. Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
2. Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
3. Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
4. Keep your lights and windshield clean.
5. Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
6. Don't use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
7. Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.
8. Don't pass snow plows and sanding trucks. The drivers have limited visibility, and you're likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.
9. Don't assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.

If your rear wheels skid...
1. Take your foot off the accelerator.
2. Steer in the direction you want the front wheels to go. If your rear wheels are sliding left, steer left. If they're sliding right, steer right.
3. If your rear wheels start sliding the other way as you recover, ease the steering wheel toward that side. You might have to steer left and right a few times to get your vehicle completely under control.
4. If you have standard brakes, pump them gently.
5. If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS), do not pump the brakes. Apply steady pressure to the brakes. You will feel the brakes pulse - this is normal.

If your front wheels skid...
1. Take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral, but don't try to steer immediately.
2. As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle and traction will return. As it does, steer in the direction you want to go. Then put the transmission in "drive" or release the clutch, and accelerate gently.

If you get stuck...
1. Do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper.
2. Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way.
3. Use a light touch on the gas, to ease your car out.
4. Use a shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car.
5. Pour sand, kitty litter, gravel or salt in the path of the wheels, to help get traction.
6. Try rocking the vehicle. (Check your owner's manual first - it can damage the transmission on some vehicles.) Shift from forward to reverse, and back again. Each time you're in gear, give a light touch on the gas until the vehicle gets going.

Updated Thursday 5pm 12-20-12:

A High Wind Advisory has been posted for the region due to strong gusty winds expected after 7 p.m. West winds of 15-25 mph may gust to 50 mph at times.
A Winter Weather Advisory has been posted for overnight starting at 1 a.m. and also runing through 10 p.m.

A strong Low Pressure system moving through the central US today will track into our area later today. This system is an extremely large storm complex that will affect areas from the Canadian border in the North all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico in the South.

This low pressure system will have a warm front that will bring us rain and possibly a thunderstorm this afternoon with rainfall totals likely in the 0.25-0.50 inch range. As we will remain on the warm side of this storm complex, all precipitation this afternoon and before midnight will fall as rain. Winds will also increase in speed as this low pressure center moves east; wind gusts in excess of 30mph are expected today through tonight.

A strong cold front will follow this warm front later on this evening. Thunderstorms along this cold front have already brought strong damaging wind gusts and even tornadoes in the Southeast US this morning. We will also see strong winds gusts (gusts in the 40-45 mph range) and periods of heavy rain but tornadoes should not be a threat in the Mid Ohio Valley today or tonight.

After the passage of the cold front we will see a drastic drop in our air temperatures both at the surface and aloft in the atmosphere. This will set the stage for snow as we head into Friday morning and afternoon. Initially roads could become slick as temperatures dip below freezing and furthermore as our precipitation will switch from rain to snow. Please be aware of black ice and other slick spots even though accumulations will be light at first. Snowfall will increase in intensity as we head into the afternoon Friday as this large system will continue to bring in cold air and moisture from Canada and the Great Lakes.

Total accumulations from late tonight through midday Saturday will be around 1-2 inches here in SE Ohio and NW WV.
Fluffy snow combined with strong consistent wind gusts could make travel messy as blowing snow will decrease visibility considerably.

Areas in Southern WV are looking at a possible 4- 8 inches of snow, with areas in higher elevations (particularly above 3500 feet) are looking at 12 - 18 inches of snow possible through Saturday night.

Back here in the MOV, Saturday evening into the latter parts of your weekend we will see dry air and moderate High Pressure build in which should provide a calmer pattern as we head towards the holidays early next week. There will be a system that heads our way mid-week next week and I will keep you informed as that system develops and how it might affect your Christmas Day forecast and travel back home after the holidays.

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