Weekend Snowstorm
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bawalker
December 12, 2003
Member since 12/1/2003
1,547 posts
Anyone heard anything regarding a winter storm this weekend? NBC News4 just reported that starting Saturday night we are scheduled to get a winter storm. Their map showed the eastern panhandle of WV in the 6"+ accumulation area with points east of "North Mountain" mountain range in the Shenandoah valley getting 3-6"
danwxman
December 12, 2003
Member since 03/7/2004
58 posts
10-18" for everybody, except the Blue Ridge resorts (Massanutten, Roundtop, Liberty, Whitetail) which will change over to sleet/rain for a period.
Roger Z
December 12, 2003
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
I've heard over a foot, possibly at Whitetail as well. Also the longer range forecasts are showing the potential for a big snow in WV on Wednesday next week... if that forecast holds the weekend of Dec 19 could be phenomenal in CV. I was thinking of going to the Catskills for a leg warmer next weekend but have shifted my focus back down to our area... shorter drive and better snow!
(Anonymous)
December 13, 2003
10 to 18 danwxman predicted still stands thru 20 hr's later.10 to 18 is across the board of course adjust for elevation
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danwxman
December 13, 2003
Member since 03/7/2004
58 posts
Yea, but it looks like even the higher elevations will mix with sleet, or possibly even freezing rain...Which could cut down on accumulations in WV...We'll see.
WP_Employee
December 13, 2003
Member since 03/7/2004
83 posts
http://www.wchstv.com/newsroom/wx/weatherwarn.shtml -- looks like Snowshoe could get a good bit.
Scott - DCSki Editor
December 14, 2003
Member since 10/10/1999
1,091 posts
danwxman, out of curiosity, where do you get your forecasts from? The high elevations of West Virginia have gotten all snow from this storm (and the last one) -- not freezing rain or sleet as you have predicted twice now.

We all like to discuss weather as it has such a profound impact on our favorite sport. People plan trips based on weather projections and I want to make sure people have accurate information. (Of course, weather is so hard to predict in this region.) So that people can better understand the nature of predictions, I'd ask that people include the source and time of any weather projections they post on DCSki. That way we can better gauge the timeliness and accuracy of forecasts. For example, if there's a report from the National Weather Service predicting 12 inches of snow, provide a link to the NWS report and the time the report was made. That will help everyone out as they plan their trips.

I would also recommend that no one take the forecasts on the DCSki Message Forum literally; by their nature they'll be dated by the time you read them. If you're planning to visit a resort, check real-time weather conditions through AccuWeather, The Weather Channel, the National Weather Service, etc.

Thanks,

- Scott

(Anonymous)
December 14, 2003
Scott you just posted that the WV highlands have been an all snow event,But you didn't state your sources!Some of us have been following weather long enough to make our own predictions.Especially when it comes to mtn f-casts.The oficial f-casts are wrong all the time,but seem to be getting better.I'll listen to a seasoned amature before i will take doug hills f-cast for gospel.In defense of danwxman the sleet & frz rn were knocking on everybodys doorstep.I have been trying all day to see if the precip stayed all snow,Where did you get your info??
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
December 14, 2003
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
White Grass is good about updating its snow storm totals every day. As of 0600 this morning, they reported 5 inches:

http://www.whitegrass.com/report.html

The problem with snow reporting is that there are various ways to measure snow. Snowshoe measures snow by melting it and measuring water content. That's the most accurate form of measurement. I need to see if White Grass measures snow this way or via a collection tube. This subject is probably worthy of some research and an entire article.

Snowshoe, btw, is reporting 6 inches as of 1500 on 14 Dec.

http://www.snowshoemtn.com/snowreport.html

Since I know exactly how Snowshoe measures snow, I trust its numbers more than anyone else's.

[This message has been edited by johnfmh (edited 12-14-2003).]

Scott - DCSki Editor
December 14, 2003
Member since 10/10/1999
1,091 posts
Andy,

I wasn't making a weather prediction. I was describing what had actually happened. There's a subtle difference! As of Sunday afternoon, the storm has been an all-snow event for high-altitude areas of West Virginia. I have spoken directly with folks at Snowshoe to confirm this, and they have sent me photos, which I'll be posting later today or tomorrow. What path the storm takes now I don't know, but I'm not qualified to make predictions. I just report the news.

The point is, a lot of folks rely on DCSki for planning trips. Based on reading a weather prediction on DCSki, someone may choose whether or not to go to a specific resort. Resorts can lose a substantial amount of money based on a wrong weather prediction. I want DCSki is be a source of balanced, accurate information, as much as is possible.

I'm not trying to single out anyone for making inaccurate predictions -- after all, this region of the country is probably one of the most difficult to forecast, with the ocean, mountains, etc. But if someone is going to make a definitive statement about exactly what type of conditions a specific area will receive, it will be helpful to all of us if that is backed up by sources and methods.

You'll notice that forecasts from official sources are always measured in the language of chances, e.g., there's a 30% chance of snow. I have gotten negative feedback from people concerning the accuracy of the weather predictions they've seen posted on the Message Forum, and it seems a sensible way for me to address this problem -- while maintaining the open nature of the Message Forum -- is to encourage people to describe how they arrive at weather predictions they post. That's all. I'm really not trying to be a meanie!

(Anonymous)
December 14, 2003
I understand,I'm not trying to be a wiennie!Maybe dcski could endorse a particular svc.If i had to chose it would be the NWS.
jonjon
December 15, 2003
Member since 04/2/2004
70 posts
I'm leaning toward either accuweather or nws as giving the most accurate forecasts for the wv mountains. The weather channel seems to give the less-populated mountain area forecasts as an afterthought.

As far as snow measurements, I'm not sure who to believe or what the best way is to go about measuring. I use a tube to measure snow here in Davis -- we got 6 inches of snow/sleet over the weekend. I'm not sure how measuring the liquid content of snow can give an accurate measure of snowfall because snow (even during the same snow event) has different liquid/depth ratios. For example, the first three inches of snow we got had a lot of sleet mixed in and was probably around .5" of liquid. However the last three inches were very fine and powdery, I'm guessing more like .2" of liquid. The average ratio is about .1" of liquid per inch of snow, but of course that is just the average of extremes. With that in mind I don't know how melting the snow can give you an accurate amount. If there is some sort of formula that they use to accurately find the amount of snow fallen from the liquid measurements then I would love to use that method. But until then, I think that using a tube to catch the snow (high enough off the ground to avoid catching blowing snow) is the most accurate method around.

johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
December 15, 2003
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
JonJon:

You might want to consult NWS because they measure snow by the melt process. NWS and Weather.com's global forecasting system use elevation to determine temperature and precipitation in WV. Accuweather does not.

Overall, the best way to check the weather in WV is to stick you head out the window and look at what is happening.

[This message has been edited by johnfmh (edited 12-15-2003).]

snowcone
December 15, 2003
Member since 09/27/2002
589 posts
I, personally, am not thrilled with Accuweather. I find their forecasts incorrect more often that not. They are generally -way- off on wind predictions and any forcast further out than 2 days seems to be wild guesstimates. For any additional information you have to pay nearly $10 per month to have access to Bastardi. Why do that when I can access another good meteorologist .. http://www.wxrisk.com/ .. for free.

My favorite at the moment is NWS .. www.erh.noaa.gov/er/lwx/ ... They are quite accurate as far as 5 days out. When there is a breaking weather situation (like the snow this weekend) the site is update hourly. There is a lot of information here, probably more than most people need but its well laid out and easily interpreted. Plus I suspect that Accuweather and Weather.com probably get a lot of their info from NWS

[This message has been edited by snowcone (edited 12-15-2003).]

gatkinso
December 15, 2003
Member since 01/25/2002
316 posts
Dish Network interactive weather (Accuweather based I think, and not very detailed)

Weather channel

Weatherbug

Weather.com


snowcone
December 15, 2003
Member since 09/27/2002
589 posts
for johnfmh:

Are you sure they use "use elevation to determine temperature"? From what base does NWS extrapolate the temperature for Snowshoe?

To the best of my knowledge, NWS takes local predictions and current weather from the closest weather station, which in the case of Snowshoe and Canaan, is just outside of Elkins: Randolph County-Jennings Randolph Field. This would make a lot of sense in that almost all airfields have weather instruments as a necessity. We have found that readings (using a Kestrel 4000) at Snowshoe tend to follow the degrees-per-1000-feet rule when compared to Elkins; ie., Elkins at appx 2000 ft ASL (and the NWS report) is 3-6 degrees warmer than Snowshoe at close to 5000 ASL.

... and then there are the micro-climates. So no, one source is ever correct IMHO.

(Anonymous)
December 15, 2003
I like www.wxrisk.com for accurate snowstorm forecasts that go beyond 3 or 4 days out. There is a lot of technical jargon that's way over my head, but this site seems to have hit the nail on the head for at least the last 3 storms.

For accuracy within the next 48 hours or so I prefer NWS. They'll generally mention 'higher amounts along the ridges' when giving accumulation forecasts.

I have WeatherBug on my PC at home and work because it's a handy way to get current temps - they seem to have a reporting station at 7Springs (zip 15622) - unfortunately they don't have a station in Canaan Valley - they give temps for Elkins.

At the very bottom of my list is Weather.com....they seem to be in the business of selling ads, rather than forecasting weather.

ICEHOCEY77
December 15, 2003
Member since 12/11/2003
17 posts
Yep, wxrisk does a good job, they are calling for another event to occur Wed Night/Thursday looks pretty good...
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
December 15, 2003
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
Snowcone:

Weather.com (Weather Channel) and the NWS collect weather information from the Snowshoe MTN Resort, which uses National Weather Service approved methodology to collect weather and precipitation data. Weather Data is collected by the Snowshoe Public Safety Department. In short, the forecast you get for Snowshoe both on NWS and Weather.com are different from Elkins forecast.

In the Canaan Valley, there is an official NOAA weather observer. Hence, NWS forecasts for Canaan Valley are different from Elkins and reasonably accurate. We also have an airport, Windwood, so we rely heavily on NWS data in that area for fliers.

You are right on Accuweather. They do not collect local data from the CV or Snowshoe.

Another reliable source is Herb Stevens, the skiing weatherman. He consults with the Snowshoe weather station for each of his reports.

Finally, Snowshoe has asked other ski areas in the region to agree to use the NWS methodology for measuring snow and could not secure an agreement from some of the other resorts. Why? Because resorts east of the Allegheny escarpment do not get much snow and therefore are not interested in a level playing field.

As you can imagine, weather and snow predictions are a VERY sensitive area in this region.

[This message has been edited by johnfmh (edited 12-15-2003).]

(Anonymous)
December 15, 2003
I have always wanted to compare the weather at the bottom of cupp rn to canaan vly(SAME ELEVATION)We only hear whats going on at the top & vise versa for CV Whats going on at their peaks? I heard there was sleet mixed at davis & CV But was it all snow at 4000'+ ?? I have been at the bottom of t-line with 3" of new & 5" at the top. I have been at the bottom enjoying a cold beer & got to the top & wished i had a HOT choc!
canaanman
December 15, 2003
Member since 03/5/2004
358 posts
It is interesting to note that, on Sunday at Timberline, we experienced just about every weather condition (except for hail). At the top it was solid snow all day. The bottom alternated between sleet and snow, but there was a slight touch of freezing rain on the cars in the parking lot.

Truely an odd weather day indeed, as the winds shifted from the East to the North/North East, then back to the East, signifying a warm-up, then a cool down and return to snow.

johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
December 16, 2003
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
Season snowfall totals from Snowshoe:

"Ever since the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Snowshoe Mountain
has received 40 inches of snow and temperatures have been perfect for
snowmaking. On December 5 we opened with 13 trails and just over a week
later, there are 39 trails available including Cupp Run from top to bottom."

Only a few of the resorts in the region have the cold weather and snowmaking capacity to go from 13 trails to 39 in just a week in December. That's an impressive achievement for Snowshoe and for Mid-Atlantic skiiing in general.

jimc
December 16, 2003
Member since 03/30/2004
16 posts
seven springs - 100% open as of this morning
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