It's no lie that our weather the past few days in central Virginia hasn't been the greatest. Temperatures have been running about twenty to 25 degrees below normal but we have received some much-needed rain along the way. The regime we're in will take all weekend to break but I'm expecting gorgeous conditions early next week. We should ease back into sunny skies and more seasonable conditions. Like my mom always said, though, it's always worse someplace else.
I sit here this Friday morning looking north to my old stomping grounds – the state of Pennsylvania. I spent my college years and eight after in the heart of where the heaviest snow has been falling since yesterday. A look at snowfall totals as of 7:00 this morning revealing much of Centre County is close or at six inches of accumulation. Mike Seidel's live shot for the Weather Channel is taking place on state route 144 just north of Centre Hall – I used to travel that hill all the time en route to my grandmother's house and can tell you that it doesn't take a lot of snow to make those mountains slippery. PennDOT has its work cut out for itself and will be plowing roads through tomorrow, where some places could have double-digit snowfall accumulations. The last time significant snow fell on the region so early? October 18, 1901.
It's not uncommon to have the first snowflakes in the Pennsylvania mountains this early. Spending twelve years living in the area I noticed the first flakes would fly right before Halloween and the last would fall around the middle of April. The area of mountains stretching from southwest to northeast which include central Pennsylvania average between 60 and 100 inches of snow per season, making it home to many ski resorts. As a result that's one area where a forecast of six to twelve inches of snow is a good one – the snow sends people to the ski slopes and drives a large chunk of Pennsylvania's economy.
Given the climatology and my experience with the area I can only say that this may be the start of a very long, snowy winter season in Pennsylvania. Makes me realize our gloomy skies and highs in the mid 40s the last several days haven't been that bad.
If you'd like to follow along at home, here's the link to the NWS State College office: http://www.erh.noaa.gov/ctp
The link for snowfall totals is here: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/productview.php?pil=PNSCTP
Now, where'd I leave my ski jacket?
Three, two one, fade out -