High pressure drifts across the state from NW to SE today, ending up in central WV tonight. That track for high pressure also means we see colder air holding over the north. With west winds, developing, we can’t rule out some lake effect snow in NE Ohio later today, and then going into tomorrow, that can stretch back west to include the entire south shore of Lake Erie for Saturday morning. While all that is going on in the north (no lake snow makes it south of US 30, and may even stay farther north than that in many places), southwest winds begin to moderate temperatures later today and especially tomorrow. This moderation continues through Sunday, as our next system arrives.
Rains do not move into the state until late Sunday afternoon and evening. They work through from west to east rather quickly, and all action will be done by Sunrise Monday morning. With the timing of the precipitation’s move across the state, we can see some mix of rain and wet snow in northern areas and particularly eastern areas. Snow will not be able to accumulate substantially because of the high water content…but there will be some sloppy wet snow to deal with. Farther south, we look for all rain. Liquid equivalent precipitation will from .2”-.4” over the entire state. Clouds linger overnight through the rest of Monday, though, and that will lead to a somewhat damp feel, even a bit of drizzle in there behind the system.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday look dry, with a good deal of sun in for Tuesday and Wednesday. Temps will be normal to above normal for the period, as southwest winds hold through the period. Thursday will feature some cloud increase, particularly in the afternoon ahead of a front for overnight Friday the 22nd. That front is not loaded with moisture, but still will be worth a few hundredths to .25” of rain over 70% of the state. It will all be liquid (rain) We will see very, very strong winds develop as the front passes and behind it. Those winds behind the front will be out of the west-northwest and will average 20-40 mph. This is a very strong circulation that so far, has looked to be unable to tap into any moisture source. That is what we will be watching through the week next week, because if it is able to gain access to any moisture, say – off of the Gulf – it will be a much wetter event. For now, just wind and a little rain.
Much, much, much colder air is in behind that system for the balance of Friday night into the 23rd. This cold air holds through Christmas Eve too. Northwest winds may create some lake effect snows in northeast Ohio, but generally, we are not looking for as significant of spread of lake snows and lake clouds as what we have seen over the past week. The map above shows total precipitation combined from today through Christmas Eve. Even though its still an active pattern, there is not a lot of true moisture coming.
There’s a significant storm complex developing in and around Christmas. Right now, models suggest it waits to make its grand entry into the state until Christmas night and the day after Christmas. This storm comes out of the southern plains, skims the gulf coast and then heads northeast through the mid and lower Mississippi valley around the 25th. That track allows for ample moisture to be available. Cold air should solidly be in place too, meaning this could be a recipe for some significant winter weather for that week in-between Christmas and New Year’s. However, at this time, we think the track is too far south for us to be in the main firing line of heaviest moisture. That being said…there is plenty of time for the track to move and change, so it is definitely worth keeping an eye on. The rest of the 11-16 day forecast window has two strong, cold high pressure domes moving in from NW to SE right on through the turn of the year, meaning we finish 2017 cold…perhaps well below normal.