Saturday morning winter storm update

Good morning. This will be the final forecast update for the incoming winter storm. This update will include a few small changes regarding the timing and precipitation types,  but no major changes in the general thinking of how the storm will play out over our area. The exact placement of a rain/snow line remains a big issue yet this morning and it will play a critical role in precipitation types today.

TIMING
There are no big changes here. Timing has consistently been a high-confidence factor with the storm pretty much all week.

  • Snow showers will move into our local areas between 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM this morning
  • Once the snow begins, it will continue for approximately 20 – 24 hours
  • Snow will taper off pre-dawn Sunday morning and exit the area by mid-morning tomorrow

LOCAL STORM IMPACTS
It matters little where you live. EVERYONE will see widespread snow today and tonight in varying degrees over the next 24 hours. Temperatures today will hover around freezing so wet snow is likely during the day. The snow will become fluffier tonight as temperatures turn colder. Conditions will deteriorate rapidly this afternoon and travel will become increasingly difficult. The periods of heaviest snowfall will be during the afternoon through tonight and snowfall rates may be 1/2″ to 1.5″ per hour at times. EVERYONE will see significant impacts from the storm.

Many folks are focused on the amount of snow for a particular area, but in all reality, it doesn’t matter much if you get 9 inches of snow or 12 inches of snow in your neighborhood. Blowing and drifting snow tonight and Sunday will make it nearly impossible to measure with any consistency.

Freezing rain/rain/sleet will be something to watch for in our southern communities. The exact placement of this cutoff line is still in question this morning. Any mixed precipitation will have an impact on total snowfall for those closer to I-70.

Once the wind picks up tonight it will become increasingly strong on Sunday. Temperatures will remain in the mid-teens for afternoon highs on Sunday. Scattered power outages are a concern, especially on Sunday.

SNOW AMOUNTS
There are no big changes in the amount of total snow in my forecast. Those in northern portions of the Tuscarawas Valley will end up with slightly more snow than those closer to I-70. The main reason for the gradient in snow amounts will be the potential for rain/freezing rain/sleet to mix in the closer you are to I-70.

Again, it’s best not to focus too much on snow amounts. The impacts will be similar whether you end up with 9″ or 12″.

AFTER THE SNOW
Dry arctic air will begin to flow into the Valley during the pre-dawn hours Sunday as snow tapers off. Temperatures will drop off during the morning tomorrow and remain in the mid-teens during the afternoon and become brutally cold Sunday night.

Wind will become quite gusty Sunday (20 – 30 mph at times) and this will only serve to aggravate the cold. While snowfall will have stopped, blowing and drifting snow will be with us on Sunday. Expect wind chills in the -5° to -10° Sunday night into Monday morning. Temperatures will again only reach the mid-teens for highs on Sunday, but the wind will be much less of an issue.

After another night of single-digit temperatures Monday night, daytime highs on Tuesday will recover back to the low 30s. The next weather system will bring snow and rain back to the Valley Tuesday night into Wednesday.

WHAT COULD SCREW THINGS UP
While I strive to be consistent with my forecast, Mother Nature often presents us with a few challenges. This storm is no exception.

It is important to note that warmer air to the south will establish a rain/snow line somewhere along the I-70 corridor. Where this rain/snow line sets up exactly is still up in the air. If the line migrates too far north, snow amounts will be considerably affected and ice will become a big issue today. The exact placement of this line is a big concern and will make for significant differences in snow amounts.

Whether sleet/drizzle works into your area is possible but only for a brief period. Appreciable snow will still impact your neighborhood.

SIMULATED radar through 1:00 AM from the hi-res model:

In all honesty, I can’t say with any certainty how far north this rain/snow line will drift. I suspect it will remain along or close to I-70, but should it drift too far north, snow amounts – especially during Saturday – will be less. Once temperatures cool down after sunset, it won’t make much difference. Everyone will change over to snow overnight. Keep this in mind.

TRAVEL INFO

  • For travel information and Ohio road conditions in real time, I recommend checking ODOT at ohgo.com.
  • Twitter is much better when looking for real-time updates. Twitter does not throttle user updates as Facebook does. For road conditions in eastern Ohio (Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Harrison, Holmes, Jefferson, Tuscarawas) follow @ODOT_EasternOH
  • For Stark, Summit, Wayne, use @ODOT_Akron. For Wayne, use @ODOT_NorthCenOH. Guernsey and Muskingum @ODOT_EastCenOH.
  • I also post much more info on Twitter than I have time for on Facebook. You can follow me @tuscwx.

I’ll post updates here through the day as information becomes available.

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