Posted 10:30 AM Saturday, February 13, 2021
Now that we’re less than 48 hours out from the impending winter storm we can start thinking about local impacts and snow amounts. We’ve got lots to talk about today.
The models have shown better agreement over the last 24 hours with how our early week storm system may play out. The system will bring disruptive winter weather impacts to east-central Ohio and the Tuscarawas Valley area. You will likely need to make adjustments to your plans Monday and Tuesday.
Winter Storm Watches have been issued for parts of central and southeast Ohio. This map will fill in to eventually cover most of Ohio over the next 24 hours. Many of the Watches will, of course, turn into Warnings on Sunday as the storm inches closer.
THE SETUP AND GAME PLAN
Low pressure will travel from south to north Sunday night into Monday. Temperatures Sunday night will be cold – in the mid-teens. Precipitation locally will be all snow as things get started after midnight Sunday night.
Despite that fact that there will be very little moisture to work with, with temperatures this cold snow production will be very efficient. This will be very light a fluffy snow and it will stick and pile up quickly.
We will likely see a break in the heaviest snowfall Monday afternoon into Monday evening. (No. It’s not winding down.) The main low pressure area associated with the storm will then travel north into the region Monday night. This will be the main swath of snow. Snowfall will be robust and not be quite as light as the first round. Snowfall rates can be moderate to heavy at times through Tuesday morning. This is when we will likely see the majority of snow from the storm.
An area of freezing rain and/or sleet will set up south of the area. There is still a possibility of this mixed precipitation migrating a bit farther north toward I-70. I can’t rule out some sleet or a wintry mix in southern parts of the Valley.
There is some good news, though. The European model that previously was the most aggressive at bringing warm air into the area has backed off quite a bit. Basically, this means we can lower our prospects of any mixed precipitation, freezing rain, and icing issues in our area. It now appears this will end up being a mostly all snow event.
Snow will taper off and end Tuesday afternoon/evening as the system pulls away to the northeast.
HOW MUCH SNOW CAN WE EXPECT?
There will likely be adjustments to the snow forecast over the next 24 – 36 hours. Keep in mind that this storm will impact the area for a couple of days. Also, remember that the bulk of the snow will occur in two waves.
IMPORTANT: Totals for the FIRST WAVE ONLY:
Snow ratios with the first wave will be much higher – on the order of perhaps 20:1. Snow to liquid ratios for the second wave can be a touch lower – on the order of 15/17:1. The second wave will also bring the heaviest snowfall rates (perhaps up to an inch per hour at times) and the highest snow accumulation of the storm. Snow Totals for the entire storm:
This NWS forecast is actually pretty decent and I think it’s a good start. Personally, it may be just a little conservative especially for the northern half of the area. I would bring that 8″ – 12″ down a bit further south. Communities around New Phila and north should see snow amounts leaning more towards this higher amount.
While the first round of snow will bring enough snow accumulation to cause travel problems Monday morning, the second wave will bring even higher snow amounts. Travel will be very difficult at times Monday night through Tuesday morning. ODOT does a petty good job of clearing state roads and interstates but it will be impossible for them constantly to keep up. Road temperatures are below freezing and air temperatures will be cold. Salt becomes inefficient when temperatures are lower than 20°. Periods of moderate to heavy snowfall will lower visibility dramatically.
Impacts to the Monday morning commute will be moderate to high. Impacts to the Tuesday morning commute will be substantial.
We’ve not seen snow totals like this for quite a while and it’s going to take a some time to clean up. If you don’t have to be out, don’t be out.
BUT WAIT. THERE’S MORE!
Once the first system pushes out of the region Tuesday we’ll have a period of uneventful weather Tuesday night and Wednesday. The next storm system will track into the region Wednesday night through Thursday. While it’s too soon for details yet with storm #2, the models have been hinting at warmer temperatures with the late-week storm. This raises the prospects for wintry precipitation other than snow.
Currently, modeling is all over the place with this system with regards to timing, placement, and precipitation types. While this could be mainly a snow event, we can’t brush off the potential for rain and/or freezing rain at this point.
Right now I’m focusing on the first storm. Once it gets underway Monday I’ll start gathering data for the late-week storm. Just be aware that once we’re done with the early week storm, a second storm is right behind it.
There are still a few model discrepancies with regards to the first storm that might require some tweaking through Sunday. Some changes in the forecast are likely through Sunday morning. I’ll of course have those along with an updated snowfall map for our area here on TuscWeather and the TUSCWeather app. I also post frequent updates on Twitter (@tuscwx). Facebook does not lend itself well to time-sensitive updates so I don’t use that platform much unless it’s critical info.
Thanks for reading the weather information that’s dedicated specifically to the Tuscarawas Valley area. Be safe out there.