Mild and rainy conditions will be replaced by colder and drier conditions this evening with the passage of a cold front. Warm air returns with rain Wednesday into Thursday, though freezing rain is possible Wednesday night.
A cold front near the Erie lakeshore this morning will push south through east-central Ohio this afternoon. Rain will be likely locally ahead and along the front until the drier and colder air moves in behind the front. Temperatures will be warmest this morning before falling through the afternoon to around 40°/42° by 5 PM.
As temperatures trend downward this evening and tonight a wintry mix of sleet, rain, and snow will be possible. The wintry mix should be light and generally not bring much of an impact. Temperatures overnight will continue to decrease to the upper 20s by sunrise Wednesday.
With the front south of our area, Wednesday still looks mainly dry. Any wintry precipitation is more likely to occur in the morning and I’ve kept a low chance for that in the forecast. Temperatures tomorrow will be colder but actually closer to where we should be for early February. Expect breezy conditions with wInd out of the northeast in the 15 to 20 mph range.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT THROUGH FRIDAY
The forecast presents some challenges going forward with the next storm system. Low pressure will track out of the lower Mississippi Valley northeast into the Ohio Valley Wednesday night through Thursday bringing rounds of mixed wintry precipitation to the Valley.
The types of precipitation fall in our area during the period will be mainly determined on where the frontal boundary happens to be at any one time. Precipitation should fall mainly as rain Wednesday night but with borderline temperatures, some wet snow mixing in can’t be ruled out.
As it appears today, the cold front to our south will retreat back north as a warm front on Thursday. Today’s guidance suggests the front will travel just to our north before stalling. This would place our area in the warm sector with afternoon temperatures in the 50s again. Should this pan out correctly, precipitation on Thursday would be rain. Rain odds would then taper off in the afternoon and any leftover precipitation would change to wet snow Thursday night as the front again shifts gears and inches south as a cold front.
With colder air firmly in place on Friday, scattered snow showers would become the main precipitation type.
The main thing to take away from all of this is that this doesn’t look to be anything more than a minor inconvenience for the Valley. Yes, there will be a variety of winter precipitation types, but the majority of this system will be mainly a rain event for our area. Just be aware that it may be a much different case if you need to travel into other areas of the state.
The question I get asked more often than any other is how much snow will we get. If you’ve been hoping for snow, this is not your storm. While periods of wet snow are likely, accumulation will be meager due to warm surface temperatures. Most of the snow will melt and we’re left with slushy messy roads and walks.
This won’t hold true on elevated surfaces that are affected more by air temperatures. Snow will have a better chance of sticking and light accumulation is more likely to occur on these.
There may also be periods of freezing rain – mainly Wednesday night. Today’s guidance suggests that the heaviest ice will occur in a band just to our north. However, we will need to watch this closely. It would not be that difficult to see this drifting a bit farther south (or north).
Just as it is with the snow, ice will have a difficult time building up on surfaces in contact with the ground. Elevated surfaces exposed to the cold air will have an easier time icing up.
I can’t stress enough the fact that where the frontal boundary decides to hang up will be critical with regards to precip types at any one hour. Be prepared for changes.
Fair weather and cooler temperatures should return to the Valley for the weekend. Some cloudiness will persist but breaks in the cloud cover should allow for occasional sunshine. While the weekend looks dry, afternoon highs will be in the upper-30s. Dry conditions should prevail until the next cold front arrives on Monday.
After a chilly start to next week, temperatures will trend back up as we work towards mid-month.
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