Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

December 21, 2012

Winter weather expected for area

By BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — Old Man Winter will breeze into the two Virginias bringing snow early this morning, but by this afternoon, the National Weather Service office in Blacksburg, Va., says the storm called Draco will arrive in force, packing winds of 50-60 miles-per-hour, and painting the winter solstice in white with blizzard-like conditions.

“The real snow won’t hit (Bluefield) until 12 noon or 1 p.m.,” Robert Beasley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Blacksburg said. Beasley said that the winter storm warning was predicted to arrive at 1 a.m., this morning, but he said that accumulation will only be about 1 inch of snow by noon.

“The biggest problem will be afternoon,” Beasley said. “The remaining 3 inches of snow with this system will fall from noon (today) until 1 p.m., on Saturday, but with wind blowing 50-60 miles-per-hour, it will seem like near-blizzard conditions all day on Friday and during most of the day on Saturday.”

With the storm approaching, Appalachian Power started making preparations on Wednesday, according to a press release. “In advance of the storm, all Appalachian Power contract line and tree crews have been asked to be ready to report and travel if necessary,” according to the press release.

“The latest weather information suggests that beginning Thursday night and continuing through Saturday afternoon, significant accumulations of dry snow and strong wind gusts may occur throughout the Appalachian Power service area, especially in the mountainous regions,” according to the press release. “The Beckley and Bluefield regions including the coalfield areas of southern West Virginia and Tazewell and areas of southwestern Virginia are likely to be most affected.”

The Weather Service is calling for a low temperature of 22 degrees tonight, with the high on Saturday hovering near freezing. The sky should clear on Sunday with a high in the low 40s, with rain returning to the forecast on Christmas Eve.

“Several of these other storm systems on the way after Christmas and for New Years may be of concern in your area,” Beasley said. As of Thursday evening, the Weather Service was calling for a return of snow in the forecast on Wednesday night.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com