The snow from Superstorm Sandy is winding down now, only a few stray snow showers left in the mountains of West Virginia. Total amounts have ranged up to 34 inches. Kelly Hoge in famed Southwest Virginia ice box Burkes Garden in Tazewell County shared some photos of what the snowstorm looked like Tuesday where she lives. You can see the blowing and drifting — impressive especially since it was a wet snow — in the photo at left, also linked here. Here’s another shot showing piles of plowed snow on the roadside … and yet another linked here of more snow through her windshield. The incredibly heavy snow, caused by tropical moisture being swept by the powerful circulation into the cold air of an Arctic trough, enhanced significantly by upslope northwesterly winds into the mountains, was one of several jaw-dropping aspects to this week’s storm. A remote sensing map of our region shows the estimated snow cover over the mountains to our west and northwest, covering all of West Virginia except its northern and eastern Panhandles. Perhaps even more striking is the North American snow cover map, which shows the Appalachian snows from Sandy far separated from the rest of the snowpack in central and western Canada, and almost no snow anywhere else in the U.S., only a few spots of snow even in the Rockies. Sometimes Canadian snowpack can give us an idea of how well cold air masses from the Arctic will be able to translate southward, and that snowpack is widespread and substantial through the western two-thirds of Canada. Eastern Canada has little snow, a situation stymied even more this week by Sandy rotating in tropical warmth into the extreme northeast U.S. and southeast Canada. The overall snow map suggest Arctic air masses will have solid snowpack to roll over through most of Canada on their way to the U.S., but any cold air moving in from the northeast, such as in a cold air damming situation, may be limited, at least for now, by the lack of snowpack in eastern Canada. Sandy’s remnants appear likely to yet again merge with another weather system, a weak cold front, and that could lead to some additional snow in Canada, perhaps encroaching upon areas not currently snow covered.
Speaking of Sandy, the L’s in southern Canada just north of the Great Lakes on the map linked here show her circulation center. Notice the oddball warm front moving west through southern Canada and the cold front moving north through Maine now — the pattern does look something like the Appalachian Storm centered in Ohio on this map from 1950 that I mentioned last week. We’ll still get some chilly breezes circulating off the former Sandy through the remainder of the week, with highs mostly in the 50s and lows in the 30s, as the sun peeks out a little more here and there on Thursday and may pop out much more by Friday.
There is still a possible storm system to watch early next week moving just south of our region, though with no strong reinforcement of Arctic air, it probably won’t have enough cold to work with for much in the way of frozen precipitation, but rather some chilly rain showers early next week. It remains a possibility that this system will evolve into a nor’easter-type low moving up or just off the Eastern Seaboard — the Climate Prediction Center is a bit concerned about high winds and heavy rain in New England on Election Day and Wednesday next week. Once this system passes and brings in another cold shot (maybe some mountain snow showers), there are growing indications of a pattern change and a return to warmth while the active weather shifts to the central U.S. by the second week of November.