NOAA 2006-R276
Contact: Marcie Katcher
NOAA News Releases 2006
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NOAA's National Weather Service has created new forecast zones for the Allegheny Front, which will offer more accurate and specific weather forecasts, watches, and warnings for Allegheny County, Maryland, and Mineral and Grant counties in West Virginia, by dividing the counties into their respective climate areas. The enhanced services will begin on
November 15, 2006.

Very different climate patterns exist on either side of the Allegheny Front, a ridgeline that runs north-south along the Appalachian mountains. The western side is exceptionally wetter than the more populated eastern side. The prevailing winds from the west and northwest drop moisture on the west side of this ridge as the winds move across the Appalachians.

For example, Bayard, W.Va., on the far northwest edge of Grant County, averages 95 inches of snow every winter, whereas Moorefield, W.Va., Romney, W.Va., and Cumberland, Md.—all on the east side of the Allegheny Front—only average between 20 and 30 inches of snow.

Another major difference is that elevations are markedly higher on the western side of the Allegheny Front, ranging from 2,500 to 3,500 feet. The elevation east of the Allegheny Front is generally 700 to 1,500 feet. This elevation difference is responsible for the much cooler and windier weather conditions west of the Allegheny Front.

“Residents in the more populated central and eastern sections of these counties will be able to receive a more accurate forecast for their area, while we will be able to warn the more sparsely populated western fringes of these counties when extreme winter weather threatens,” said James E. Lee, meteorologist in charge of NOAA’s Baltimore/Washington Weather Forecast Office. “This will also provide more precise forecasts for major highways in these counties, including Interstate 68 and U.S. highways 50 and 220.”

In 2007, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, celebrates 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

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