Rain and high winds will bring active weekend weather to the Valley

Dry weather until rain chances return Saturday with a strengthening storm system. Strong winds and damaging wind gusts are expected on Sunday.

Saturday looks to start out dry but cloudy. A strengthening low pressure system will be approaching the Great Lakes region and will lift a warm front through east-central Ohio. Odds for rain showers will gradually increase in the Valley in the afternoon and rain will become likely here anytime after 3:00 PM. Temperatures will warm to the low 50s, so precipitation will be rain.

As the storm system creeps ever closer Saturday night it’s expected to bomb out – meaning it will strengthen very rapidly. As it does, west wind will increase Saturday night. Dew points and temperatures Saturday and Saturday night will be in the low 50s and plenty of upper-level dynamics could support a few thunderstorms. Abundant moisture may also support pockets of heavy rainfall Saturday night.

While the center of the storm will not directly cross east-central Ohio, it will travel east across the Great Lakes region. Close enough to bring damaging wind gusts to east-central Ohio on Sunday. Temperatures will remain warm Saturday night a trailing cold front will approach and cross east-central Ohio on Sunday.

Gusty wind early Sunday morning will only increase as the cold front approaches. Sustained winds can be in the 30 to 45 mph range and gusts could reach as high as 60 mph at times Sunday morning through Sunday evening.

NAM3k depiction of wind gusts Sunday morning. NOTE: Wind scale is KNOTS and not MPH.

A High Wind Watch is in effect for Sunday for our area.

Once the cold front crosses east-central Ohio late in the morning, those warm morning temperatures will fall off during the afternoon. With the influx of drier air, rain showers should end quickly. There could be enough moisture leftover for a spot of snow Sunday evening, but if there is, it will not snow enough to bring anything more here than a few flakes blowing in the wind. The bulk of any impactful snow will keep well north of our area – mainly in the snow belt counties.

NAM3km projection for snow showers Sunday evening. While there may be a brief snow shower, accumulation locally does not appear to amount to anything.

Temperatures Sunday night will drop back to the mid-20s. The wind will slowly subside during the night but it will remain breezy. High pressure will build on Monday to bring a mostly sunny day, but temperatures will only warm to the mid-30s Monday afternoon. Breezy morning winds will subside in the afternoon.

LOCAL IMPACTS
Forecast confidence is high that this strong storm system will bring impacts locally. This will not be a quick-hitting wind event – high winds are likely to persist for 12 + hours. Impacts will gradually increase and spread as the day progresses.

To be blunt, this will likely be a big ticket event for our area. The National Weather Service does not issue high wind headlines often or this far in advance. That reflects mostly on the high confidence of the event actually occurring.

FAQs
I’ve already received a few questions regarding our weekend weather…

  • ARE SEVERE STORMS POSSIBLE? A few thunderstorms are possible Saturday afternoon and night, but severe thunderstorms are not expected in our area. Severe weather, including the threat for tornadoes, will stay well to our south. That being said, any storms Saturday night could tap into the high winds overhead and bring strong wind gusts to the surface.
  • WHAT ABOUT TORNADOES? The setup is not favorable for tornadoes locally. However, there is a high probability for straight line wind damage on Sunday. See question #1.
  • MY APP SAYS WE’RE GETTING 3″ OF SNOW. Nope. There may be a brief snow shower late Sunday but odds are really low that anything would stick.

EXTENDED OUTLOOK
Once Sunday’s cold front arrives temperatures are likely to remain chilly to finish out February and into the first week or so of March. Average temperatures this time of the year in New Phila should be in the low to mid-40s.

I’ll post updates here as needed as our wind storm approaches. Subscribe to updates to get notified as soon as they’re posted. Be safe and secure our bring in those trash cans and lawn furniture if you want to keep them.

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