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Meteorologists predict colder, snowier winter


Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT, W.Va.  — Winter in Fairmont this year is shaping up to be colder with more snow than recent years.

Meteorologists at AccuWeather said temperatures are expected to be below average by a degree, and snowfall is expected to be above average.

Average yearly snowfall for Morgantown, which is the closest data point, is 28-30 inches.

“We haven’t seen that for a couple of winters,” Jake Boston of AccuWeather said. “It’s definitely going to feel more like winter than it has.”

This comes after an unusually warm October, which ended with an abrupt about face to the colder side.

On average, October was 5.7 degrees warmer than the 54 degree average, but the last week of the month has seen temperatures drop 3.1 degrees below the average.

“It been noticeably colder the last week,” Boston said.

Boston said the trend will continue next week, with temperatures expected to be 3 to 4 degrees below the average.

An above-average amount of precipitation is also expected for the tail end of October and beginning of November.

The area is expected to be cold and chilly until Wednesday when there may be rain and possibly a snow shower in the higher parts of the state. Rain showers are also possible Thursday and Friday.

“It looks like it’s going to be an unsettled week, and also colder,” Boston said.

In a month-to-month breakdown of the winter, Boston said December will be milder, with mixed rain and snow and slightly higher temperatures. January will be noticeably colder, however, with increased snowfall, Boston said, which is expected to continue into mid-February when things will begin to mellow out.

With colder temperatures, hazards such as slick roads and black ice become dangerous.

The AccuWeather website said black ice most commonly forms in the late evening and at dawn in shaded portions of the roads, and recommends staying informed to the area’s weather conditions.

Its tips for driving safely on black ice are to not hit the breaks, keep the wheel steady, lift your foot off the accelerator and do not over correct if the car begins to slide.

“(This winter) is going to start off not too bad in December, (with) some rain but some snow as well,” Boston said. “January and the first half of February should be the hardest part of the winter with the coldest temperatures and also the greatest amount of snowfall. Late February could be a mixed bag.”

Email Carter Walker at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @carterw284.

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