When Will Sustainable Cold, Snowy Weather Arrive?

WOAY-TV (Oak Hill, WV): The milder, wet weather regime will dominate our pattern through the holiday, but are changes ahead in January?

Chief Meteorologist Chad Merrill explains:

There are typically four weather patterns that dominate during the winter; the Pacific trough, the Pacific ridge, the Greenland high and the Alaskan ridge. The Pacific trough pattern is most favored going through the month.

Which pattern will dominate through early January?:

Pacific Trough with potential for a Greenland High pattern after the start of 2024.

What do these weather regimes bring to southern West Virginia?

Pacific Trough: Mild and wet weather, with mixed snow potential possible on the tail end of systems in the East. The West stays very warm and Alaska is stormy. This will dominate our weather through Christmas week.

Greenland High: Winter storms cross the country, bringing in frequent rain and perhaps snow if cold air is there. Warm and dry Canada and Greenland pattern.

Alaska Ridge: Coldest pattern for the East and very warm for the West.

Pacific Ridge: Warmest pattern for the East.

Limiting factors to a sustainable cold and snowy pattern into the first few weeks in January: Current snow cover in the U.S. is comparable to early April with significant voids where our cold air masses originate from (northern Rockies to northern Plains). Cold air masses modify as they push into southern West Virginia, so more modification occurs over a bare ground than a snow-covered one.

What needs to happen in order for southern West Virginia to get a moderate to major snowstorm (at least 10″)? Mixed snow and rain is more likely than all snow events for our region even in the right pattern until the snow cover upstream in the northern Plains and Upper Midwest builds back to normal. The best chance for a big snow is late January into February.

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