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Published:November 23rd, 2006 04:29 EST
Noaa National Weather Service Creates New Forecast Zones for Portions of Maryland and West Virginia

Noaa National Weather Service Creates New Forecast Zones for Portions of Maryland and West Virginia

By SOP newswire

The NOAA National Weather Service created new forecast zones for the Allegheny Front, which will offer more accurate and specific weather forecasts, watches and warnings for Allegany County, Maryland, and Mineral and Grant counties in West Virginia, by dividing the counties into their respective climate areas.

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 the NOAA Baltimore/Washington Weather Forecast Office. "This also will provide more precise forecasts for major highways in these counties, including Interstate 68 and U.S. highways 50 and 220."

In 2007 NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, celebrates 200 years of science and service to the nation. Starting with the establishment of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA. The agency 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 the 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.