CHARLESTON, W.Va (WOWK) – We’re seeing cooler temperatures today, but a real blast of cold weather is on the way for the second half of the weekend into early next week!
We saw a cold front push through the region around midnight last night, which brought some gusty winds to the area. Many towns saw wind gusts above 30 mph, with Yeager Airport reporting a gust of 39 mph and Tri-State Airport reporting a gust of 31 mph. Gusty winds continue Thursday, with wind gusts between 20 and 30 mph expected, as a chilly northwesterly breeze dominates our weather pattern. The stiff wind is a result of a tight pressure gradient pattern as shown in the hand analysis below – 30 mb of pressure change over a few hundred miles will create some blustery conditions!
There’s cold air across Canada and the northern Great Plains, but it’ll take a secondary area of arctic high pressure for that cold air to be squeezed down toward our region. Though temperatures will feel chilly today and tomorrow (low 40s for highs today, upper 30s for Friday), that’s not far from our average this time of year.
Our next storm system will bring in that secondary area of high pressure into the region by Sunday. By late Friday afternoon, we will start to see increasing clouds, with light rain showers possible early Saturday morning. A warm front will lift north across the region late Saturday morning, followed by a strong cold front Saturday evening. This means that rain showers and gusty winds will be likely Saturday afternoon and evening. In general, around a half inch of rain is expected, so no high water concerns are expected.
However, much like last week, wind gusts with this cold front will be rather high! We could see gusts as high as 50 mph Saturday afternoon into the early evening hours, which could once again cause some electric issues like what we saw last weekend. The strongest wind gusts right now appear to be taking place between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday. Forecast wind gusts are shown below:
That cold front will blow through the region Saturday night, and we’ll be left with a stiff northwesterly breeze once again for Sunday, which is going to usher some of the coldest air we’ve seen in quite some time! With a stout breeze, we’ll see high temperatures only in the lower 30s, and wind chill values down to around 20 in the afternoon as shown below in the afternoon – it will be a very cold day! Make sure to bundle up and have the heavy jackets ready.
Both Huntington and Charleston have both not had a high temperature below 30 degrees this winter! In fact, it’s only happened once in the past 9 months in each location – December 18th. The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday looks to add to that, as a northwest breeze looks to keep highs only in the upper 20s! Overnight lows for Sunday night, Monday, and Tuesday night all appear to be in the teens, so this will be some legitimate winter weather into the region – something we have not seen much of.
But will the winter weather last? Long term guidances suggest that it will not, with another upper level ridge – although weaker – shaping up in our region by the end of next week. This will likely return our temperatures into the 50s for highs, so perhaps not the record breaking 70s and 80s that we saw last weekend, but rather a return to above average temperatures into the region. This patterns suggests to last through the remainder of the month, so we’ll have to look for February to hope for a good snow across the lowlands – at least we got a taste last week!