Watch, advisories as winter storm promises rain, wind, snow for Northern Ohio to begin the weekend

CLEVELAND - A WINTER STORM WATCH has been issued for Cuyahoga, Lake, Geauga, & Ashtabula Counties from Thursday evening to Saturday evening. Snow totals of 6 to 10 inches are possible for the Watch area by Saturday afternoon. Also, winds gusting above 40 mph could cause blowing and drifting snow along with treacherous travel.

A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY has been issued for Erie, Huron, Sandusky, Seneca, Holmes, Richland, & Ashland Counties from 7 p.m. Thursday night thru 7 a.m. Friday morning. 2-4 inches of snow is expected along with blowing and drifting snow.

A Wind ADVISORY is in effect for ALL of Northern Ohio Thursday night thru 4 a.m. Friday morning. Winds could gust above 45 mph at times.

Batten down the hatches! Here comes our first taste of winter! A strong winter storm system will affect Ohio beginning Thursday afternoon through Saturday morning. Low pressure currently over Oklahoma will slide northeast into lower Michigan by Thursday evening. The storm will strengthen as it moves toward Ohio. We will be on the warm side of the system to start. The precipitation will begin as rain ahead of the cold front late Thursday morning through the afternoon. High temperatures will climb up to near 50 degrees. Winds will start to increase as well during the day. Gusts could exceed 35 mph by the afternoon rush hour.

The cold front will sweep through the area Thursday night. Windy conditions are likely with gusts to near 45 mph at times. The main area of rain will exit east of Ohio with the front Thursday evening. That may lead to a few hours of dry weather. But scattered rain showers will quickly build back in from the west during the overnight. As the cold air mixes in from the west, scattered snow showers will develop after midnight. Low temperatures will fall back to near 30 degrees. Overnight snow totals should fall in the Trace to 2" range.

Friday will be windy & cold! Temperatures will hover in the lower 30s most areas with wind chill values in the teens! Scattered snow showers are likely area wide, transitioning to lake effect snow bands during the afternoon. Where these snow bands persist, 2-5" of snow can be expected by evening. Outside the snow bands, look for a trace to 2" of snowfall during the day.

Lake effect snow squalls will continue Friday night. Additional accumulations of 2-5" are possible where squalls persist. This would be primarily from Northern Lorain County east through Cuyahoga, Lake, Geauga & Ashtabula Counties. Extreme Northern Summit, Portage and Trumbull Counties could also share in some heavier snow totals by Saturday morning. Gusty winds will also cause blowing and drifting snow. Total snowfall in the heavier bands over Cuyahoga, Lake, Geauga, & Ashtabula Counties could measure in the 6 to 10 inch range by Saturday afternoon. Total snowfall for the rest of the region will fall between 1 & 4 inches.

The lake effect snow should end quickly during the day Saturday. So, anyone with holiday plans Saturday late afternoon and evening should be OK. Sunday will be dry as well. Stay tuned!

Early snowfall estimates for selected cities:

Cleveland: 4-6"
Akron: 2-4"
Canton 1-2"
Mansfield: 2-4"
Medina: 2-4"
Ashtabula: 3-5"
Mentor: 2-4"
Chardon: 6-10"
Lorain: 2-4"
Jefferson: 5-7"
Brunswick: 3-5"
Strongsville: 3-5"

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