Wednesday Morning Winter Storm Update

Published 10:00 AM Wednesday, December 21, 2022

I do not see any good reasons to make changes to my initial ideas regarding winter storm impacts in the east-central Ohio region. Read yesterday’s update for details if you haven’t yet to learn what we can expect from the upcoming storm in our local area. I’ll also include a brief outline below.

There is one item that I do need to adjust for today – onset timing. I’ll outline this minor change in this update. Otherwise, the storm forecast looks pretty good.

Now that we’re less than 48 hours out from the onset we are firmly in the range of some of the short-term high-resolution models. Overnight runs of the NAM have trended a quicker-moving cold front which translates to an earlier arrival of cold air, snow, and wind Friday morning. It also means a change in total snow amounts for some locations.

Our weather locally will begin sliding downhill a little EARLIER Friday morning than previously thought. The latest hi-res model run indicates the cold front begins nudging into the area around 4:00/5:00 AM. This means that if you have to go to work on Friday morning you are more likely to encounter difficulties. Temperatures will quickly drop to freezing and below and any moisture on roads, sidewalks, etc. will freeze. Expect icy roads.

Snow and wind will also start a bit earlier. Snowfall could be heavy at times and blowing snow is likely.

NAM3k (North American Model) indicated our cold front moves through eastern Ohio around 4:00/5:00 am Friday. Temperatures will plummet and rain will quickly change to snow. Any wet areas on solid surfaces will freeze.

I see no reason to change my thoughts about snow amounts. I still think 2 inches to 4 inches for our area is a good bet. Whether you end up with 1 inch or 4 inches will make little difference, though. It’s all going to be blowing around and drifting anyway. Some open areas might even be snow-free while other spots will have 6-inch drifts.

Everyone will get in on this initial burst of snow early Friday morning. And, it will snow at a pretty decent clip for a few hours. The Friday morning snowfall may be the heaviest snow for the entire storm. This initial snow should begin to taper off by around 10:00 am or so.

Most of the modeling still suggests we get into a dry slot Friday afternoon. Snow during the afternoon looks to be more of the lake effect variety with much higher chances of additional accumulation in northern parts of Ohio. Still, we can expect blowing and drifting snow in our area but little or no additional accumulation.

I’m a little less confident today about additional snow moving in Friday evening and Friday night. We’ll just have to wait for additional data as it comes in today. I won’t say it’s impossible we see some flurries or light snow showers but the odds for additional impactful snow is questionable at this point.

As I mentioned yesterday, this won’t dump a lot of snow in our area. Snow is only a small part of the storm. The bigger impacts will result from wind, very cold temperatures, and dangerous wind chills. Try not to focus on snow amounts.

The bigger impact of this storm is going to end up being the brutally cold temperatures and wind. Temperatures Friday afternoon will drop to the single digits. Wind chills will be well below zero. Any snow we get will stick and it will make for slick travel conditions. Road salt doesn’t work very well at all when temperatures get this cold.

NAM3k (North American Model) temperature projection at 2:00 pm Friday afternoon.

Strong wind is perhaps my biggest concern. Some wind gusts Friday and Friday night could gust 40 to maybe 50 mph. This can cause power outages and being without power for several hours in this cold is not good at all. Have a plan in place of what you’re going to do in the event you lose power.

Tuscarawas County EMA Director Alex McCarthy has arranged for warming centers to be set up around the county in the event of power failures. Some will be capable of overnight stays. I’ll post that list here along with instructions as soon as it is released.

I’m not expecting additional snow at this time on Saturday. It will still be windy with gusts of 30/35 and very cold with blowing and drifting snow. Wind chills will be in the minus-teens. Travel will still be slick in a lot of spots but the main roads will be in better shape. Other than it just being cold Christmas Day looks uneventful.

If you must travel outside of the area keep in mind that winter conditions will deteriorate as you go north. Conditions will improve as you travel south. Check road conditions along your destination BEFORE you travel. Be prepared to postpone your travel especially if you’re headed north.

I’ll have one more update Thursday morning with any noteworthy adjustments and changes you might need. Until then be safe. And, thanks so much for reading the Tuscarawas Valley’s only LOCAL weather information resource.

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