Warm, wet and windy weekend for the Valley

Note: Changes in the forecast include lower rain totals and the introduction of thunder.

A cold front stretching from Illinois northeast into Canada will shift south and stall out near Lake Erie today. A second area of low pressure in the Southern Plains will develop and move northeast along this frontal boundary reaching the Ohio Valley by Saturday night. The end result of all of this activity locally will be periods of rain, some gusty wind, and even thunder today (Friday) through Sunday morning.

The swath of heaviest rainfall has continued to shift west of our area. We will still see rounds of rain today and Saturday locally with occasional breaks at times.

One of those breaks in the rain will arrive tonight into Saturday morning as a wave of dry air moves in temporarily. However, light to moderate rain showers will move back in Saturday afternoon and continue into late Saturday night with the system’s cold front. The atmosphere will be a bit unstable thanks to the warm moist air in place and a thunderstorm or two can’t be ruled out.

Thunder or not, gusty winds will accompany Saturday’s cold front with gusts as high as 40 mph Saturday night.

As the storm system pulls off northeast Saturday night, cold and drier air will move in behind the front bringing an end to the rain. Winds will remain gusty Sunday but decrease through the day as high pressure begins to take hold.

HOW MUCH RAIN CAN WE EXPECT?
Rain totals locally should range between 1/2″ to 1″. This it total rainfall from today through Sunday morning. The highest rain totals will occur in Northwest and Northern Ohio. Less rain is expected in Southeast Ohio.

SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS?
With a warm moist environment with a bit of instability in place over the region Saturday evening ahead of a cold front, an isolated strong to severe thunderstorm will be possible. The NWS Storm Prediction Center has outlined an area just to our west for a Marginal Risk (1/5) for severe thunderstorms. While it’s a low-end threat, don’t be caught off guard. Obviously the weather doesn’t know it’s January. Damaging wind is the primary threat.

TEMPERATURES
Temperatures across the Valley will warm to the mid-50s today (Friday) and mid-60s on Saturday. Depending on whether we see enough breaks in the clouds Saturday that allow for some sun, it’s not impossible we warm to the upper-60s Saturday. Sunday will start out warm early but drop about 20° to 25° by the afternoon. That’s a big drop but still warmer than average for the first part of January.

WIND
The wind will be an issue today through Sunday. The strongest wind locally will arrive Saturday afternoon and Saturday night when gusts of 40 mph are possible. As noted above in the low-end severe threat, gusts can even be higher in any thunderstorms. This is strong enough to bring down trees weakened by the rain-soaked ground. Power outages can’t be ruled out.

FLOOD POTENTIAL
Area streams and the Tusky will likely run higher but widespread flooding is not expected. There may be spotty issues with high water in areas with poor drainage.

IS THERE ANY SNOW WITH THIS STORM?
Yes. But not for our area. Wintry precipitation associated with this storm will stay well to our west and north over the course of the weekend. Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois will receive the brunt of the snow and ice. Ohio, not so much as the system pulls away to the northeast. The northwest corner of Ohio may see a brief bit of snow on Sunday.

European model idea early Sunday AM. Snow and wintry precipitation remain well off to our north.

NEXT WEEK
Those colder but still above average temperatures on Sunday won’t last long. A general southwest flow is expected to set up keeping winter at bay through at least mid-week. Temperatures will climb back up to the 50s Tuesday and Wednesday. Chances for light rain showers will return Tuesday as an upper-level disturbance crosses.

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