National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Winter Storm December 8th - 9th

A winter storm affected parts of the mid-ohio valley on the night of the December 8th before tapering off in the pre-dawn hours of December 9th. After it was all said an done a potpourri of winter weather was observed across the Charleston WFO area of responsibility. Precipitation arrived in southern West Virginia thursday evening then raced northeast reaching the northern mountains of West Virginia and southeastern Ohio around 7pm. Weather started out as a mixture of sleet in the I-79 corridor south to Williamson, meanwhile in the tri-state area saw a mixed of freezing rain and snow, since surface temperatures where in the lower 30s. In the mountains, precipitation took the form of freezing rain before switching over to rain after about two hours. Higher elevations in the central and northern mountains picked up a quick two to three inches before changing over to freezing rain for a short period then to all rain.


Low pressure moved rapidly northeast from the lower Ohio Valley up through Indiana and northern Ohio. Southerly winds out ahead of the system in conjunction with sunshine during the morning hours allowed surface temperatures to rise into the upper 30s to lower 40s in the lowlands. In the meantime, the atmosphere at the ground remained dry as dewpoints only where in the upper teens to mid 20s. This allowed for a brief period of sleet in the lowland counties adjacent to the mountains before changing over to rain. Southeast winds kept temperatures at or below freezing in the central mountains and Pocahontas county throughout the day. As a result, freezing rain was the dominant precipitation type in the central mountain since warm air just above the surface melted the snow falling from above and changed it to freezing rain.


Farther north in Pocahontas county, much like Beckley, southeast winds kept temperatures below freezing and with the atmosphere cold enough for snow, all snow was observed. Five inches of the white stuff was recorded before it was all said and done throughout Pocahontas county. To the west in eastern Randolph county, all snow was observed as well. Slightly lower amounts were recorded, generally two to four inches. After the initial round of freezing rain, sleet, or some snow, precipitation changed to all rain as southwesterly winds funneled in warmer allowing temperatures to rise into the mid and upper 30s over the entire area.


Winter Storm warning were up for the northern and central mountains of West Virginia, which worked well as a quarter inch of ice was observed, outside Pocahontas county where warning criteria snow was attained. Winter weather Advisories were hoisted for the southern part of West Virginia, Northeastern Kentucky, and Southern Ohio. For a graphical look at snow and ice accumulation for the entire event, a map is supplied below.


Snow Totals Dec. 8, 2005