Published 7:30 AM EST Thursday, December 24, 2020
Good morning and Merry Christmas. It will indeed be a White Christmas in the Valley but it will not be very pleasant if you need to be outdoors or traveling over the next 36 hours. A winter storm will bring wintry weather impacts to the Valley today and Christmas Day.
We’ve been discussing this storm for about a week now. After looking at yesterday’s and last night’s model trends, I find very little to change in the forecast this morning. (If you need a refresher, please read yesterday’s update to get caught up.) There are a couple of minor adjustments with the timing of the front and local snow amounts in this update.
If you have any last-minute preparations or errands to make it would be best to wrap those up during the morning and early afternoon. We’ll have mild temperatures, rain (potentially heavy at times), and gusty south winds but that will be the best weather of the day. It will go downhill quickly late this afternoon.
Temperatures across the Valley at 8:00 AM are in the upper-40s. We will warm to the low-50s by lunch time today. A strong cold front will cross east to west late this afternoon into early evening. The front will bring dramatic changes to our weather this evening that will persist through Christmas Day.
A Winter Weather Advisory goes into effect late this afternoon for all of east-central Ohio. Winter Storm Warning have been posted for extreme northeast Ohio counties and parts of southern Ohio.
Temperatures will fall to near freezing by around sunset. Rain will change to mixed precipitation for a bit between 3PM and 5PM. The mixed precipitation will change to all snow around or shortly after sunset this evening as temperatures continue to fall.
A flash freeze will cause any wet areas to ice over creating a layer of ice under accumulating snow. Area roads will deteriorate quickly. Bridges and overpasses will be the first to freeze up. Periods of heavy snowfall are likely up until about midnight.
Snow showers will continue through around 4AM/6AM Christmas morning. Christmas Day will bring not much more than an occasional light snow shower or flurries but travel issues will remain problematic at best.
LOCAL SNOW AMOUNTS
As I mentioned on my social media sites last evening, I bumped snow amounts up just a tad. Everyone will see snow on the ground on Christmas morning. This will be light fluffy snow – not good for making snowmen.
Odds for snow 8-inches or higher are around 30%/40%. While that’s pretty low, those chances can’t be brushed off. This storm could overperform. (That doesn’t mean it will.)
LOCAL HAZARDS AND IMPACTS
Expect moderate winter impacts areawide. Temperatures this afternoon will plummet from around 52° this afternoon to the upper-20s by around 7PM. That’s a drop of about 25° in a few hours. Any wet areas will quickly freeze. Bridges and overpasses are especially prone to freeze. They’ll be the first road surfaces to ice up.
Travel Christmas Eve and Christmas morning will be challenging at best. Air temperatures tomorrow will be very cold. Christmas morning will bring temps in the mid to upper teens. Highs in the afternoon will struggle to reach 20°. A breezy west wind will make for wind chills in the single digits.
As always, changes and updates will be posted throughout the day on TUSCWeather and on Twitter (@tuscwx). Be safe (and kind) out there.