Cold air causes school delays - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Cold air causes school delays

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Predictor Forecast Model Wind Chills Tuesday @ 7:30AM Predictor Forecast Model Wind Chills Tuesday @ 7:30AM
Wind Chill Warning and Winter Storm Warning Wind Chill Warning and Winter Storm Warning
Forecasted snow totals through Monday morning. Forecasted snow totals through Monday morning.
Predictor @ 11:30PM Sunday.  Showing the rain, snow line over Huntington and strong winds moving in behind the cold front. Predictor @ 11:30PM Sunday. Showing the rain, snow line over Huntington and strong winds moving in behind the cold front.

Temperatures are ABOVE zero this morning and the climb will continue.  Wind chills are around zero or just a little below it this morning.  We'll have dry skies today and that will help things out with some sunshine. 

The temperatures will soar into the 40s over the next 2 days and by Saturday we'll see highs in the mid 50s.  A new storm system moves in on Saturday bringing guaranteed rain to the entire region.  After that another system brings more rain in Sunday night through Monday. 

The next big chill with chances for snow will be here during the middle of next week, possibly on Wednesday and Thursday.


Despite wind chill warnings being dropped, temperatures and wind chills will still be dangerous for people or animals who have to spend any significant time outdoors.  The Stormtracker 13 Forecast calls for lows in the single digits and wind chills just below zero.  The key is winds dropping off overnight.  

Many schools are operating on a 2 hour delay to allow students to have slightly warmer temperatures at the bus stops in the morning.

Several water main breaks occurred Monday night and Tuesday morning and freezing pipes could occur once again through Wednesday morning.  Residents who fear frozen pipes should run a small trickle of water overnight.  Experts say a small cost for extra water is better than a large cost replacing broken pipes.  

Temperatures on Wednesday will return to about 32 degrees but a few snow showers could float across parts of southern Ohio according to the Stormtracker 13 meteorologists, briefly in the afternoon.  

Records were broken in Parkersburg, Huntington and Beckley for record lows!  Just as we predicted last week the temperatures have been bone chilling.  Wind chill readings were between -20 and -30 degrees.  The higher elevations were even worse.  Snowshoe bottomed out at -20 degrees for the air temperature with a wind chill of -54 degrees!

Temperatures will struggle to make it to 10 degrees for a high and wind chills will not make it above zero until late Wednesday morning.


Wind chill readings at 9 p.m. have already reached -20F in Athens, OH as well as Beckley and -22F in Bluefield.  Wind chill readings in the Charleston-Huntington corridor have been in the -13 to -17 range.  

Another interesting feature are some small bands of snow that have lined up along the westerly breezes.  They are few and literally far between but have the capability of producing a fast coating of snow.  With no chance for any snow to melt overnight, this means secondary and back roads could become slicker if one of these bands sets up over a particular area.  The snow bands are expected to migrate east overnight and fade away as the sun comes up and drier air moves in Tuesday mid morning.  

Actual overnight low temperatures still on track to fall below zero across much of the region.  In fact, temperature readings near Portsmouth have already reached -4F at 9pm with forecast numbers in a range from -8 to -10 in southeast Ohio.  


The forecast is still on track, just as we've expected, with the temperatures dropping off through Tuesday morning.  Light snow showers/flurries will continue until sunset across central West Virginia with some of the higher elevations receiving an extra 1/2" to 1". 

A reminder of the dangers of this cold...schools are already beginning to close for Tuesday.  Stay up to date with the latest school closings!



The "flash freeze" occurred overnight and we have a SOLID LAYER of ice across the region.    Light snow showers will continue this morning with winds out of the northwest at 15 to 35mph.  The extremely cold air will create some very light fluffy snow that will easily blow around.


A WIND CHILL WARNING has been issued for all of Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia.  Prolonged periods of wind and extreme cold will result in wind chill values at -20 to -40 degrees below zero.  THIS IS DEADLY TO HUMANS AND ANIMALS IF EXPOSED FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME!  FROST BITE, FOLLOWED BY HYPOTHERMIA CAN SET IN AND ULTIMATELY DEATH!  DO NOT GO OUT IF IT IS NOT NECESSARY!

A Winter Weather Advisory has also been issued to highlight the very slick travel with the layer of ice that will be underneath the snow.  The "flash freeze" that occurs Sunday night combined with the snow that falls late Sunday night into early Monday morning will make it dangerous to venture out.  Generally 1 to 4 inches across the region is expected with highest amounts in the mountains.

The only *change* to the forecast is to slow the timing of the rain down to after sunset across the region.  We will see 2 to 3 hours of rain followed by one of the most dramatic drops in temperatures in a long time! 


Rain will begin to work its way into the Tri-State along our next cold front after sunset on Sunday.  As polar air rushes in behind the front, rain showers will change over to snow showers.  Snow will continue through midday Monday.  Accumulations will range from 2" to 4" in the lowlands with 3" to 6" possible in the higher terrain in the eastern mountains of West Virginia.

Temperatures will fall throughout the day on Monday and by Tuesday morning, it will feel like it is between -20 and -40 degrees outside.


A Wind Chill Warning has been issued for parts of central and southern Ohio for Monday and Tuesday morning.  This means that there will be prolonged periods of wind chills from -20 to -40 degrees below zero.  THIS ALSO MEANS THAT EXPOSED SKIN CAN DEVELOP FROST BITE, HYPOTHERMIA CAN SET IN AND ULTIMATELY RESULT IN DEATH.

A Wind Chill Watch has been issued for eastern Kentucky, southeastern Ohio and most of West Virginia.  This will most likely be upgraded to a warning on Sunday. 

The latest wind chill projections are as follows for Monday night through Tuesday morning:

Huntington, WV:  -15 to -25
Charleston, WV:  -20 to -30
Parkersburg, WV:  -20 to -35
Jackson, OH:  -25 to -35
Athens, OH:  -25 to -35
Spencer, WV:  -20 to -30
Summersville, WV:  -25 to -35
Grayson, KY:  -15 to -25
Ashland, KY:  -15 to -25
Logan, WV:  -15 to -25
Beckley, WV:  -20 to -35
Clarksburg, WV:  -25 to -35
Morgantown, WV:  -20 to -30
Wheeling, WV:  -25 to -40
Elkins, WV:  -25 to -40
SNOWSHOE, WV:  -40 to -55



Records will be challenged, if not broken Monday and Tuesday as a polar vortex dives south across central and eastern United States and sets up squarely over the Ohio River Valley.  This next storm system will be some of the worst weather, in regards to the temperatures, that we have seen in more than 5 years.  Some of the records for Tuesday have been in place for more than 60 years and in some cases over 100 years!

FLASH FREEZE:  A dramatic warm up will occur Saturday and Sunday across Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia with temperatures warming into the 40s and some highs on Sunday near 50 degrees.  This warm air will be detrimental to the dangerous travel conditions that will set up later on in the evening.  The storm system will begin as rain for 2 to 3 hours at best and rapidly change over to snow.  The rain will make the ground saturated and that layer of water will freeze rapidly.  This is called a "flash freeze" and is one of the most dangerous setups for anyone traveling across the region. 

BLOWING SNOW:  After the layer of rain freezes, we will see snow falling on top of it and it will start to pile up across the area.  The general problem with this polar vortex dropping into the region will be the dramatic differences in temperature and that will add to the increased wind potential.  All of this combined, we will see blowing snow.  The blowing snow will cause reduced visibility and snow drifts.  Snow totals will range from 2 to 6 inches across the area with the highest totals in the higher elevations and on the northwest facing slopes.

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ARCTIC/POLAR AIR:  The air that we will be experiencing doesn't normally come this far south.  There's an area of high pressure across Greenland that is blocking the cold air from *normally* circling the North Pole.  Since it is a very strong area of high pressure, it's driving the Siberian cold down across the lower 48 and that will park right over the Ohio River Valley.  This air won't moderate or leave the area until later in the day Wednesday/Thursday.

100 YEAR RECORD:  The forecasted lows will break the record in Beckley of -4 which has stood for 102 years on Tuesday.  The records in Huntington of -2 and Charleston of -3 have stood for 64 years and are expected to be broken as well.

WIND CHILL:  Monday night through Tuesday morning we will experience some of the worst wind chill readings that we've seen in nearly 5 years.  Wind chills across the Kanawha and Ohio River Valley can be expected around -20 degrees.  Some of the lowest wind chill values are forecasted at our highest elevation points and Snowshoe is expected to see -50!

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DEADLY TO ALL:  The temperatures in the sub-zero range, combined with the winds will make for a deadly combination.  People need to be checked on regularly, especially your elderly neighbors and children do not need to be outside for an extended period of time..if at all.  All skin needs to be covered because exposed areas can be subject to hypothermia and frost bite.  Pets and livestock will be very vulnerable to the elements because these are not temperatures normally experienced by animals in this region.  Livestock will need to be regularly checked and brought into barns if possible.  Dogs and cats will need to be moved inside.

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