Mother Nature becomes a little bi-polar in our latest forecast. We have cold air that wants to stay in control through the end of this week, but it has to endure some moderating pushes coming from the south and west. Then, next week, we look to get warm enough that approaching systems have more rain potential than snow. Overall, we are lowering our expectations of a white Christmas down to about a 20% chance – but we still can be bailed for a white Christmas by a Christmas day storm. Here is how we see it at this time.
A warm front tries to lift into west central and southwest Ohio today, but cannot get much farther north and east than that. The low pressure center that spawned this warm front will work into west and NW Ohio later this afternoon, and crosses the rest of the state overnight. We should see some snows associated with that low passage. These snows do not look as impressive as they did 24 and 48 hours ago and they do not extend as far south. But right now we do not think we are going to waver from our thoughts of 1”-4” of snow. There is potential for much higher totals over and north of Lake Erie…but they do not look to drift south at this time. Those snow totals are clearly north of I-70, and honestly, a good bit of those snow totals will be seen north of US 30. Areas between US 30 and I-70 may end up closer to a coating to an inch. We will see. Coverage north of 70 will be around 80% for at least some snow, and only 10% coverage of even snow flurries south of I-70 tonight into early tomorrow. By noon tomorrow, all action will be off to the east.
High pressure behind the system keeps us dry and sunny through the balance of Thursday into early Friday. Northwest winds pick up Friday midday and that may bring some lake effect snows back to northern Ohio later Friday afternoon and Friday evening. WE can see a coating to 2 inches in northern Ohio, particularly NE Ohio, but nothing farther south.
We should see a bit of a break for Saturday, and temperatures will start to moderate. Then, Sunday looks to turn wet. Strong south flow ahead of our next weather system takes temperatures up to the point where rain breaks out late Sunday morning over southern Southwest Ohio and moves north-northeast from there. Rain totals can be from .25”-.5”, and just south of the river we can see some .75” rains that we have to watch to make sure they don’t try and surge up into southern Ohio. Farther north, temps don’t climb quite as much. We see a large chunk of the area from US 30 northward topping out only near 35 degrees Sunday. That is warm enough for rain, but also cold enough for sloppy wet snow. So, liquid equivalent precipitation can be up to .5”, but we can see a mix of rain and wet snow in the north. 90% of the state sees some kind of action on Sunday.
Next Monday we go drier behind that system, and we stay dry through Thursday morning over most of the state. The exception will be northeast Ohio, especially Tuesday. This will be another push of lake enhanced action. IT may not be all snow, but there will be some minor action around Tuesday afternoon and evening in NE OH, with liquid equivalent precipitation of .25” or less. Temperatures moderate through the period, and will be normal to even slightly above normal by midweek next week. Our final front of the 10 day period arrives late next Thursday overnight into Friday the 22nd. This front again brings mostly rain, as the cold air waits to arrive until after the moisture is gone. We look for .25”-.75” of rain over 70% of the state. That system will be the one that puts the nail in the coffin for a white Christmas, unless cold air can come faster.
Dryer the 23rd into the 24th. Extended models are suggesting a potential late Christmas Eve system that goes through Christmas day. This system has good moisture potential…and if cold enough, may bail out those wanting a white Christmas. But, for now, it is far enough out that we are just going to watch it and see the track it wants to carve out.