AUDIO: The Forecast
Keep the umbrella handy today. Rains start around noon in western Ohio, and will push east through the afternoon, evening and overnight. The front that is working through originated in the plains this weekend and has quite a history behind it already. For us, we see rains from .25”-.1” likely here through sunrise tomorrow. Temps probably stay warm enough, even overnight, that we see mostly liquid. That being said, we won’t rule out some sloppy wet snowflakes in NW Ohio and west central Ohio early tomorrow morning as temps pull back into the mid to lower 30s. . A second, minor wave of action comes in over northern Ohio tomorrow morning and will look see rain changing to snow. Minor accumulations can be seen, mostly from US 30 northward. The rest of the state will see plenty of clouds for the balance of tomorrow and through tomorrow night. The map above shows total precipitation (liquid equivalent) through tomorrow evening.
Cold air continues to funnel in to the state at midweek. In fact, most of us will be struggling to get above freezing for Wednesday. We do not expect any precipitation with the cold air, and it really will not be nearly as cold as air masses behind our most recent frontal passages. Still, a return to slightly below normal air will be noticeable, given the mild push of the past few days. Winds return to the southwest on Thursday, and we should see another milder surge of air to finish the week. Temperatures begin to climb some on Thursday, but generally stay near to slightly above normal. We see Friday warmer with sunshine and above normal temps. Strong winds at 15-30 mph will mean we still feel a pretty good chill, though, even though actual air temps may run toward the lower to middle 40s again. This surge and strong wind set up will be in advance of our next system, which still looks strong.
Even though we expect a strong system to move in from late next Friday right on through the weekend, it looks this morning like it is weaker, and has less moisture available than what we were seeing when we finished out last week on Friday. The rains should not drag out as long, and total, overall precipitation, in terms of its moisture equivalent looks better than it had. Scattered light showers Saturday morning, and then rains move east while intensifying into Sunday. We are going to put rain totals at .25”-1” with 90% coverage. However, the upper end of the range (.7” to 1” rain totals) looks to be limited to areas south of I-70. Rains will be the heaviest from Saturday night through midday Sunday. Later Sunday afternoon cold air starts to advance in on the backside of the front into the state, and by sunset Sunday, we could see rain changed over to snow over about 70% of the state. This will allow some snow accumulations, especially in eastern Ohio. We can see 2-6 inches in eastern Ohio, and a coating to 2 inches by Sunday midnight in central and western Ohio. These numbers can definitely change between now and then, but it looks like we are going to be in the right place to see cold air catch up with precipitation, while our neighbors to the west miss out on that part of this system. Strong NW winds will make for a cold finish to the weekend. The snow will be wet enough that we don’t expect serious blowing and drifting, but wind chills will be in play. .
Some lake effect snows may develop next Monday (29th), particularly over northeast Ohio, but we won’t rule them out anywhere north of I-70. Accumulations will be mostly limited, but typical lake effect areas in NE Ohio could see several inches. Clouds will struggle to break for sun in other parts of the state, but we won’t rule it out. Strong NW winds will keep temperatures sub-freezing statewide, and that cold air holds through next Tuesday.
We finish the 10 day period with wind shifting back to the SW for midweek next week, which will allot temps to moderate some for Wednesday, the 31st. We do not expect a big move above normal, but a return to normal for Wednesday is likely. A clipper races through next Thursday, and brings a quick burst of snow, along with colder air.
The extended period brings another strong system up from the SW out of the central plains for the 3rd and early the 4th. This system has liquid precipitation potential up to 1.25” and coverage at 100% of the region. This system may have some rain to start, but its current projected track would signal that we need to be on the lookout for some significant snow as well. Time will tell. Behind that event, we put together several dry days, but could see another strong system for the 6th into the 7th, bringing the potential for snow. This would be the start of a potentially very active month of February