CLEVELAND - WEDNESDAY 5 AM UPDATE: Winter Storm Warnings cancelled. Major icing is done, but still over 85-thousand local folks without power! Temperatures have really warmed into the 40s in many spots. That will melt some of the accumulated ice, but not all of it. Winds will be gusty all day today. That could shake the iced-up trees and bring more branches and power lines down. Main highways are wet, secondary roads are very slippery areawide. Travel with care.
WEDNESDAY 4 AM UPDATE: Freezing rain moving out. Temperatures have warmed above freezing in most spots east of Interstate 71. I think a lot of spots will creep into the middle and upper 30s for the morning rush hour. Precipitation should be spotty and should be mainly rain through the commute.
Isolated light rain or sleet through the morning hours before cold air begins to rush back in behind exiting low pressure this afternoon. I expect temperatures to fall rapidly back through the 20s as you head home from work or school. Wrap around snow this afternoon and evening should be light and in the 1-2" range in most spots.
TUESDAY 10 PM UPDATE: Several dozen schools closed now. Freezing rain and sleet continue to fall over a wide area in Northern Ohio. Warmer air has moved north of Interstate 70. It will continue to creep north tonight and raise temperatures along and east of Interstate 77 above the freezing mark by midnight. Elsewhere, freezing rain and sleet will continue to accumulate. I expect some areas to measure 1/2" to 1" of ice accumulation by 3am Wednesday morning.
TUESDAY 8:30 PM UPDATE: Schools are beginning to close now as ice accumulates in many sports. Still getting reports of snow from right along the lakeshore from downtown Cleveland east to Ashtabula. Freezing rain amounts are already up to 1/4-inch in many spots. Very icy out there! 2-thousand homes without power in North Royalton...
TUESDAY 8PM UPDATE: Already 1/2" of ice accumulation reports coming from our southeast counties. Salineville in Columbiana County reports .5" of ice on trees and power lines now...
Freezing rain is widespread across the region at this time. It will not take most of us very long to get to ice storm warning criteria of 1/4" accumulation. We are seeing repots of sleet and snow in some spots. I still thin the vast majority of Northern Ohio will see freezing rain from now until at least 10pm. Some areas north toward Lake Erie and West of Interstate 71 will see freezing rain past midnight!
TUESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Get ready for Freezing Rain, Sleet and Rain tonight. Most computer forecasts agree now in pulling the center of our winter storm from Southern Indiana tonight northeast to near Sandusky tomorrow. That means most of the snow will affect states to our west tonight. Instead, we are monitoring the radar constantly anticipated a significant ice storm for many in Northern Ohio.
Steady moderate to briefly heavy freezing rain and sleet will commence this evening and continue for several hours tonight. The big question will be: "How fast will the warm air move in from the south?" Dover/New Philadelphia will likely see temperatures rise above freezing before midnight. That means less ice and more pure rain for you folks. Canton & Youngstown would be next, rising above freezing closer to the midnight hour. How fast the 32-degree temperature line travels north and west will dictate how much ice accumulates in Akron, Cleveland, Lorain, Mansfield, Ravenna, & Ashtabula. My hunch is that the 32-degree temperature line will move to Jefferson, Chardon to Strongsville, then south to near Ashland by 3am. That would effectively limit ice accumulations to near 1/4 inch or less for Geauga, Summit, Portage, Trumbull, Mahoning, Medina, Ashland, Wayne, Stark, Holmes, Tuscarawas, & Coshocton Counties after midnight. Where temperatures stay below freezing for most of the night, a significant accumulation of ice is possible. My forecast as of now is calling for 1/2 to 1" of ice accumulation along and west of Interstate 71 from near Cleveland, south to Mansfield and then west to Findlay, Norwalk & Sandusky. Heavy ice will cause trees to fall, power outages, and significant travel problems. Everyone across Northern Ohio should continually monitor later forecasts. - Mark Johnson
TUESDAY MORNING UPDATE: Freezing rain is now the primary threat for Northern Ohio. First wave of snow and freezing rain is pulling away. Motorists will have to deal with snow covered roads in the north and a coating of ice along and south of Interstate 76. Drive with care this morning!
Low pressure is rapidly developing now across southeastern Texas. computer models are getting closer to deciding on a final storm track. Currently, I expect the low to move northeastward today to the boot heel of Missouri and into southern Indiana tonight. the low will then cross Ohio to near Cleveland Wednesday afternoon.
Very light snow, sleet and light freezing rain is possible on and off through the day Tuesday
ahead of the storm. The next wave of precipitation will arrive during the evening hours tonight and continue through the overnight. The vast majority of Northern Ohio will likely experience several hours of light to moderate freezing rain and sleet. A significant accumulation of ice is possible tonight.
I also expect a gradual south to north changeover from freezing rain to rain during the Wednesday morning commute as temperatures rise into the lower and middle 30s. The speed of the temperature rise will dictate how much ice accumulates on trees and powerlines. Where heavy ice occurs, power outages and dangerous travel will be the result.
Of course, the storm is still several hours away. Any slight shift in the storm track could drastically alter the type and amount of precipitation in your area. Please stay up with the latest forecasts! - Mark Johnson
MONDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: WINTER STORM WARNINGS ISSUED. Latest mid-afternoon computer maps are moving the center of low pressure farther south. Instead of a Central Indiana to Toledo or Cleveland track, the newer models bring the storm central into Central Ohio Wednesday. This shifts heavier snows farther south into the Lakeshore Counties of Ohio where 6-10 or even 12 inches are possible by Wednesday morning. A major ice storm is still possible in our southern counties especially near Mansfield and Ashland, Wooster to Canton where 1/2" or more of freezing rain is possible Tuesday night thru early Wednesday. This is a major winter storm, but the storm is still many hours away. Everyone should pay close attention to later forecasts for any adjustments.
MONDAY MORNING UPDATE: First wave of precipitation will arrive tonight. With the storm center still about 40 hours away, computer forecasts are getting closer to agreeing a on a storm track and precipitation types. As of this morning, it looks like the center of the low will move northeast through Ohio Wednesday. Right now, I expect the low pressure to move along or west of Interstate 71 from Cincinnati up to near Cleveland. With this track, Northern Ohio can expect a wide variety of precipitation types.
A first round of snow is likely area-wide tonight with accumulations in the 2-5 inch range by the Tuesday morning rush hour. Travelers should prepare for snowy travel Tuesday moring. The snow will then taper to light snow and flurries during the day Tuesday as we await the more significant batch of precipitation Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
Low pressure will move to near Cincinnati Tuesday night. Meanwhile, very warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico will be pulled northward rapidly into the storm. This warm air will flow over top of a shallow layer of sub-freezing air at the surface over Northern Ohio all the way up to the Lake Erie shore line. The result will be a quick transition from snow to sleet and freezing rain. With current forecasts calling between .5" and .75." of rain across the area, a significant ice storm is possible across most or all of the NewsChannel 5 viewing area between midnight and 7am Wednesday morning.
PRELIMINARY FORECASTS FOR SELECTED CITIES as of Sunday 7pm: (For Monday night through Wednesday Evening)
CLEVELAND: 1-3" of snow likely Monday night. Sleet likely from approx 4am to 8am Wednesday morning. Freezing Rain likely from 8am to 9am. Then rain...
AKRON: Snow likely Monday night, accumulating 4-6" by dawn Tuesday. Sleet likely Tuesday night and Wednesday morning between 1am & 5am. Freezing Rain likely between 4am & 7am... then rain likely.
CANTON: Snow likely Monday night, accumulating 3-5" by dawn Tuesday. Sleet likely Tuesday night and Wednesday morning between 12am & 3am. Freezing Rain likely between 3am & 6am... then rain likely.
LORAIN/ELYRIA/VERMILION: Snow likely Monday night, mainly after midnight. Around 2" of snow likely by dawn. Light snow likely again Tuesday night becoming sleet between approximately 4 am and 9am Wednesday morning. Freezing rain likely Wednesday morning from about 9am to 1pm. Then light snow through the afternoon.
MANSFIELD: Snow likely Monday night, accumulating 2-4" by dawn. Sleet likely Tuesday night from midnight through 7am Wednesday morning. Freezing rain likely from 7am to 9am Wednesday...then rain.
WOOSTER: Snow likely Monday night, accumulating 4-5" by dawn Tuesday. Steady sleet likely after midnight Wednesday morning, becoming freezing rain between 7am & 9am Wednesday...then light rain.
FINDLAY/NORWALK: Snow likely Monday night, accumulating 2-3" by dawn. 1-2" of Snow likely Tuesday night changing to sleet by 4am. Light snow likely Wednesday accumulating up to 2" by 6pm.
ASHTABULA/CONNEAUT: Snow likely Monday night, accumulating 1-2" by dawn. Snow likely Tuesday night accumulating 1-3" by dawn. Sleet likely Wednesday morning, becoming light snow by 2pm. 1-2" of snow likely by 6pm Wednesday evening.
YOUNGSTOWN/WARREN: Snow likely Monday night, accumulating 3-5" by dawn. Sleet likely Tuesday night, could be heavy at times. Freezing rain
likely Wednesday morning, becoming light snow by 4pm. 1" of snow possible by 6pm Wednesday.
TOLEDO: On and off snow likely, heavy at times, from Monday night through Wednesday. Snow accumulating 10-14" by Wednesday 6pm.
COLUMBUS: Freezing rain likely Monday night, mixing with sleet at times. Freezing rain likely Tuesday night becoming all rain by 4am Wednesday morning.
DETROIT, MI: Snow likely Monday night, Tuesday, Tuesday night and Wednesday. total snow accumulations of 12-16" by 6pm Wednesday.
FORT WAYNE, IN: Snow likely Monday night, Tuesday, Tuesday night and Wednesday. total snow accumulations of 12-16" by 6pm Wednesday.
SUNDAY UPDATE: Models have trended farther north and west with the low pressure center and storm track over the past 24 hours. The Canadian GEM model and the JMA model forecasts continue to be the farthest south with the storm path. Both forecasts take the storm center just south of the Ohio River. That's the favourable path for heavy snow across Northern Ohio. But, other computer forecasts disagree. Today's NAM and WRF models now take the low pressure all the way west into Indiana pushing the heaviest snows west of Indianapolis. Ohio would experience a changeover from snow to rain/sleet and back to some light snow with these two scenarios.
The consensus and preferred model at this time would be the GFS forecast. This product takes the low pressure and pulls it northeast through Southern Indiana across Ohio to near Ashtabula on Wednesday. This sets up a very messy forecast for Ohio by midweek.
Right now, our forecast calls for light steady snow to arrive across the area Monday night. The snow could mix with sleet, especially south of the Interstate 76. After a 2 to 4 inch snowfall Monday night, scattered light snow and light sleet will continue thru the day on Tuesday. Another round of snow will move in Tuesday night with an additional 6+ inches possible. We would likely see a transition to all sleet and or freezing rain early Wednesday before the morning rush hour. Freezing rain would transition to rain in Akron, Canton, Mansfield, Youngstown & Wooster by 8 or 9am. With the entire region seeing some rain by late morning or early afternoon. The rain would change back to light snow late Wednesday afternoon or evening as colder air sweeps in again behind the storm. This averaged scenario would likely require weather advisories or perhaps even a few warnings to be issued for parts of Northern Ohio as early as Monday afternoon.
Remember: The storm is still days away. Any change in the storm's path could drastically alter the amount and type of precipitation your area experiences. Please stay up to date with the current forecasts.
SATURDAY UPDATE: Computer forecasts as of Saturday still pull a strong area of low pressure up into the Ohio River Valley Tuesday night through Wednesday. Today, two forecast "models," the GEM & CMC models, bring the low pressure across the Ohio River into southeast Ohio and then move it northeast to Erie, Pa late Wednesday. These two solutions suggest the heaviest snows would fall west of Interstate 71, from Toledo & Sandusky to Findlay, Norwalk and even Mansfield. Early estimates of snowfall in these areas would be 6 to 10 inces. For the rest of our area a mix of rain, sleet and snow, would cut down snow totals drastically.
The other forecasts, the GFS, UKMET, & ECMWF models, keep the low farther south, which would put all of Northern Ohio in the zone of heavy snow. Even the JMA model, which yesterday took the low farther south through Tennessee, is now bringing the low pressure center closer to the Ohio River.
PREVIOUS DISCUSSION: If computer forecasts are correct, Northern Ohio will experience its first major winter storm of the season next week. Today's weather forecasts are in better agreement, compared to yesterday.
The majority of the "models," as they are called, bringing the center of a big winter storm near or along the Ohio River next Wednesday, Feb. 2. This track would place Northern and/or Central Ohio in the bulls-eye for heavy snow.
The storm tracks in the photo are labeled as to which computer model produced them. Right now, the CMC model would bring us the heaviest snow tuesday night into Wednesday as the storm slowly pulls northeastward along the Ohio. The ECMWF and GEM forecasts would bring some warmer air and some rain into our southeast counties Wednesday. The heaviest snows with these two scenarios would fall primarily west of Interstate 71.
The JMA model forecast is the farthest south. This solution would keep the heaviest snows in central and southern Ohio, with a few inches of snow here in the northern third.
Finally, the GFS computer forecast brings the low pressure center up into the Ohio Valley, but weakens it quickly while developing another low pressure along the east coast.
Even the National Climate Prediction Center sees this
developing situation. They issued their hazards assessment product today. The photo here shows where they place the heavy snow, right over northern Ohio for Groundhog Day. Stay tuned. - Mark Johnson
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