Posted Tuesday AM, February 1, 2022
Not much has changed generally with regards to the winter storm that is set to impact our area later in the week. There has been some model wabble but that’s pretty much the norm with winter storms. Now that we’re within a 48-hour window of this thing getting underway we can start to hone in on some of the details and concerns.
As I explained in yesterday’s blog, I still think this storm is going to bring moderate to high winter impacts to the Valley. The main component still looks to be ice in the form of freezing rain and sleet. We will also see snow but that’s more likely to become a problem as the storm winds down and pulls away.
The bottom line here is to be prepared for significant winter weather issues Thursday and Friday from a mixed bag of wintry precipitation types.
As of this morning, all of Ohio is under either a Winter Storm Watch or a Winter Storm Warning. Warnings exist for parts of northern and northwestern Ohio. The rest of the state is under a Watch. Those Warnings will expand south and east today and Wednesday.
Generally, the farther north and west you are in Ohio the higher the potential is for heavy snow to be your main problem. Central parts of the state will be more likely to be in a position where icing will occur. Further south will be dealing with much less wintry shinanigans.
There are no changes in my thinking for tomorrow. Temperatures will be warm enough all day to support liquid precipitation (rain). Most of the rain will be in the afternoon and evening. Temperatures will be in the low-40s. The snowpack will continue to erode.
This is when things will start to become problematic. Temperatures in the upper levels over the area will continue to be warm enough for rain. At the surface, though, temperatures will be cooling. By the time we approach sunrise Thursday morning, surface temperatures will be at or near freezing. This is a classic recipe for freezing rain.
This is a period where we start to see more variability in model solutions. As of today, I continue to expect we’ll see a combination of freezing rain, sleet, and maybe even some wet snow mixing in at times. Whatever falls from the sky at any one time will be impactful frozen precipitation.
THURSDAY EVENING – NIGHT
Freezing rain, sleet, and perhaps some heavy wet snow will continue into the evening and Thursday night. At some point, maybe around or after midnight, the upper levels will cool to freezing. We’ll start to see a transition to all snow.
By early Friday morning, our storm will be pulling out. Precipitation in our area should still be snow. It is unclear, however, how much moisture the system has to work with as it’s winding down. This morning’s model runs show a touch more moisture than they did yesterday. That suggests a bit more snow than previously thought as the system pulls away.
The system will continue to exit the region and chances for snow showers will diminish. Any snow likely ends by lunchtime.
LET’S TALK NUMBERS
NWS does a decent job of forecasting wintry precipitation amounts so I’ll leave that up to them. I can give you a general idea of what we might be dealing with as far as an accumulation of ice and snow. I like the NWS Blend of Models (NBoM) for this kind of job. It takes the solutions from many different computer models and then spits out an average. Using this method, I think, gives us a decent idea of what we might expect to see.
Let’s look at ice first because I think that’s going to be a bigger concern in our area.
Expect enough ice accretion to cause problems locally. In addition to the obvious difficulty with travel, there can be power outages and downed tree limbs as well.
As I explained earlier, snow amounts are a little more problematic to pin down yet. There will be snow mostly on the tail end of the storm but questions remain as to how much moisture will be left at the end of this thing.
One thing that’s obvious is that the farther north and west you go, the more snow and less ice you can expect.
Whatever the forecast amounts end up being this storm will bring significant winter weather impacts to our area. There will be variances in snow/ice amounts in the northern to southern parts of our area. Travel will likely be a major challenge, especially on Thursday. There can be power outages.
Thanks for hanging in here with me. Be safe out there.