Monday morning update on our pre-Christmas winter storm

Published Monday, December 19, 2022, 10:00 am EST

Confidence is increasing that a potent winter storm will bring wintry impacts to East-Central Ohio Thursday through Saturday. Rain, snow, strong winds, and very cold temperatures and wind chills are likely in our area with this storm.

We’re still on track to be on the receiving end of impactful winter weather late this week. The following will be new information I’ve gathered since yesterday morning. If you missed the background info I posted yesterday you can catch up with this link.

Thursday will bring rain and mild temperatures. There can be a period early Thursday morning of freezing rain and/or sleet for a time as air temperatures will hover around freezing. This shouldn’t last very long but it could have an impact on your Thursday morning commute. Precipitation will eventually change to all light rain/drizzle. Rain will likely continue on and off Thursday night.

Conditions locally will change drastically Friday morning. Cold arctic air and gusty wind will begin moving in before sunrise and any precipitation will quickly change over to snow. It is liable to snow at a fairly decent clip for a while followed by a lull Friday afternoon. Blowing snow will be an issue. Temperatures starting out in the low-40s Friday morning will plunge into the single digits within a few hours Friday. This will cause any standing rainwater to freeze quickly. Snow will accumulate on top of any ice.

European Model temperatures at 8:00 am Friday morning.

Scattered snow showers/flurries will return Friday evening and perhaps continue into Saturday. Saturday will likely bring additional snow accumulation but this looks to be rather modest. It will, however, remain very cold and very windy. Winds could gust to 50 mph at times Friday evening through Saturday so wind chill temperatures can be in the -10° to -15° range. Wind chills in this range are nothing to mess with.

The gusty wind should back off dramatically on Christmas Day but it will still be a very cold day. Other than maybe a few flurries around we won’t see much snow falling.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Normally we see ODOT out pre-treating (state) roads ahead of a winter storm. Since we’re expecting rain at times out ahead of the storm, pre-treatment might be a waste of time and resources and ODOT could elect to forego pre-treating roads with brine. If this ends up being the case impacts on area roads will be enhanced.

Although specific snow amounts are still a day or so out from being determined, total snow accumulation in our area looks to be rather modest at this time – on the order of a couple/three/four inches. If you base your storm impacts solely on the amount of snow we get I think you’re going to be disappointed. This doesn’t look like a big snowmaker in our area. The bigger impacts are going to come from blowing snow (white-outs), cold temperatures/wind chills, strong winds, and icy surfaces.

Another concern is those strong winds causing power outages. That’s not a good position to be in with the single-digit temperatures that are expected on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Expect to encounter major travel issues if you’re plans include air or ground travel Friday and through the weekend. It’s a big storm covering a very large area and impacts will be varied and widespread.

Some Good News: Temperatures should slowly moderate some after Christmas Day.

NWS National Blend of Models temperature projection.

There continue to be differences in the different models and there will be some tweaks in the forecast going forward. However, this is likely to be the general idea of how things play out in our area of east-central Ohio. I’ll continue to keep you informed of the latest trends as we go forward. Thanks for reading the Tuscarawas Valley’s only local weather resource. Stay safe everyone.

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