West Virginia will have a visitor from the Arctic during the next few days — and it’s not Santa Claus, by any means.

By this morning, a large cold front moving across the country will reach the Beckley area, said Mark Pellerito, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston. Temperatures will begin to cool down, with mid-50s for highs. Five to 10 mph winds are expected, with 20 mph gusts. Wednesday’s rain should decrease to on-and-off showers, but the atmosphere will remain cloudy.

“It’ll be cool, damp and breezy, with some showers,” he said.

However, by tonight, the clouds will break and leave a slight chance for residents to see some patchy frost, Pellerito said. Temperatures are not forecast to be below freezing — but they will be close to it.

The biggest chance for frost will be Friday night, he said. A high pressure system will be in effect along with a clear sky and cooler temperatures thanks to a cold air mass from Canada. Low temperatures for Friday are forecasted to be in the low 30s — even as low as 30 degrees. These conditions make it favorable for ground-level heat to escape.

“This could be the end of the growing season — a killing frost,” Pellerito said.

The NWS in Charleston had not issued any frost watches or warnings by Wednesday evening, but may do so by sometime today, he said.

During the day Friday, the weather is forecast to be clear and dry, he said.

The weekend should be a “crisp, wonderful” one, Pellerito said, and the cooler temperatures should bring out fall colors more. Saturday high temperatures should reach the low 50s, but there is a small frost threat again that night. Starting Monday, temperatures should be back in the 60s, but the atmosphere may be more unsettled. He also noted nighttime lows would be in the 40s next week.

Snow is not a serious threat with the front, he said. Elevations of 4,000 feet or more could receive accumulations of a few tenths of an inch. In the Beckley area, most places could receive a rain/snow mix late Thursday afternoon, but that would be the extent of the wintertime precipitation.

“You could have a chunky rain, a mix,” Pellerito said. “But an accumulation in Beckley? Certainly not now — that’s not possible.”

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