CHARLESTON, W.Va. — After enjoying a sunny, mild day on Monday, much of West Virginia is going to feel a lot different by mid day Tuesday.
The major changes will begin Monday evening into Tuesday morning followed by a blast of arctic air Tuesday evening and into Wednesday night. The system dropping temperatures from the low 50s to single digits this week will also be bringing precipitation along for all parts of the state.
“A lot of us experiencing pretty mild temperatures on this Monday afternoon,” Charleston National Weather Service Meteorologist Ross Giarratana, said. “A really strong cold front is positioned across the Ohio Valley right now and as that front continues to move off to the east, it will be approaching the area late Monday night through early Tuesday morning with a blast of arctic air behind it.”
Giarratana said a system moving across the state Monday night into early Tuesday will make for a tricky commute on Tuesday morning. Rain is expected in parts of the state late Monday night before midnight and then will mix with some snow into the early hours of Tuesday. There is a Winter Weather Advisory for much of the state early Tuesday morning into Tuesday evening.
The transition of rain to snow will be hitting the state along the Ohio River and move southeast. It is expected in the Huntington and Parkersburg range of the state between 4 and 5 a.m., Charleston, Morgantown and Clarksburg around 6 and 7 a.m., and Beckley and Elkins areas around 8 a.m., Giarratana said.
“That could create for some flash freezing conditions as temperatures plummet behind that front,” he said. “Things will actually be pretty hazardous pretty much everywhere for that Tuesday morning commute.”
Not a lot of accumulation of snow is expected but Giarratana warned that does not mean the state is off the hook for bad conditions.
“It’s really that rapid transition that we go from milder temperatures to temperatures plummeting that is going to allow for any standing water on road services to freeze very quickly overnight into Tuesday morning,” he said. “Then we will have a coating of snow on top of any icy surfaces that will develop overnight from some of the rain showers that we had.”
Heading into midweek, most parts of the state will brace for single digit temperature lows Wednesday night. Giarratana said almost everyone in the state will see temperatures near zero with gusty wind chills making it almost unbearable outside.
He added wind chills near Snowshoe could be 40 degrees below zero, 20 degrees below zero in the more mountainous area such as Randolph County and Elkins, and in the teens below zero in lowlands across West Virginia.
Not as cold but frigid temperatures and wind chills are in the forecast for Thursday night as well.
Governor Jim Justice has directed the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the West Virginia National Guard to prepare for potential extreme cold weather expected this week, per release.