MONDAY EARLY MORNING UPDATE:
Reports of snow falling from Elkins to Snowshoe to Beckley. Light drizzle and sprinkles are occurring in the valleys. More snow will continue through the morning hours.
A WINTER STORM WARNING has been issued across the highest terrains of West Virginia. Elkins, Marlinton and Snowshoe (Pocahontas and Randolph Counties) are all in the effected areas as snow accumulations will total 6 to 10 inches with some isolated higher amounts. The valley areas could see 2 to 4 inches.
A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY has been issued for Taylor, Nicholas, Webster, Upshur and Barbour Counties. 2 to 4 inches of accumulation are possible across the highest portions of terrain in these areas.
IMPACTS: A heavy, wet snow is also going to lead to some issues with trees. A leaf canopy has developed heading in to spring and that will allow for some limbs to break. The snow on the trees coupled with the gusty winds of 20-40 mph will cause some power disruptions. Some travel problems will exists across the highest elevations.
CHARLESTON to PARKERSBURG: has a chance of seeing very light snow showers passing through. The ridges could see a light dusting but most of this will rapidly melt.
The snow total maps that are included with this story indicate the grand total, without the melting. This means that most of the totals can be cut by 50 percent-70 percent and as you go down to the valley floors, you can cut these totals by almost 90 percent. Forecast models do not take into account melting, just what the storm has the potential to produce.
A rare late-April snow storm is possible across parts of Appalachia into the eastern Great Lakes and parts of western New England Sunday into Monday.
Although the snow could be heavy, little is expected to accumulate because the ground is to warm, Chief Meteorologist Spencer Adkins said.
"Currently, the weather models are really competing with some different ideas of exactly where the heavy snow will fall, but at this point there are some models that paint out some significant snow across the high terrain of West Virginia, especially in the northern sections of the state and into parts of the Eastern Panhandle," he said. "A shift of just a few miles in the actual track of the low could make a big difference in how much snow could be seen.
"It's important to note that there have been late April snowstorms, but any storm of that kind is driven by cold air aloft, while the surface temperature will be above freezing in many areas and the ground temperature is very warm now, so there should be some significant melting taking place."
If there was no melting, the eastern mountains could have a foot or two of snow, according to one forecast model. Beckley could see 8.7 inches, Summersville 18.2 inches and Elkins 25.45 inches. But, much of the snow is expected to melt quickly as it hits the ground because of recent weather that has warmed the ground, Adkins said.
"The range of possible snowfall accumulation on models is extreme for areas such as Snowshoe," he said. "One model we have calls for two feet of snow and another says possibly eight inches of snow and some other models show two to four inches of snow all for the same area. Basically, the traditional high terrain areas that see the most snow in the winter are the spots that could have snow Sunday night into Monday and we'll hone it down from here."
People in the eastern part of the state should prepare for the possibility of heavy snow accumulation, Adkins said.
"Being able to project a storm this far ahead is good and bad," he said. "It's good so nobody is caught by surprise, but again, if there is a shift and the storm moves away, then it can lower people's confidence for the next storm forecast.
"The best advice for people in the high terrain is to at least prepare for the chance of a decent Spring snow, and to tune in as the weekend goes along and not settle on the Friday forecast as the final answer. We'll be watching it and making changes as the weekend unfolds."