Friday, February 20, 2015

Saturday's snow getting chatter

Tomorrow's snow COULD be a big one... But it all depends on temperatures.  The above model shows the rain/snow line across Southern Ohio... (with ice as well)  The models have trended a tad more North since this model came out, but as a wise guy (my father, also a meteorologist) once told me... warm air will win out.  So that means they will likely keep trending a tad north (warmer) before it arrives. (If you want to see the timing for the above animation... the models are in UTC time, so 0Z is 7PM for the evening before.  so 12Z is 7AM and so on...)
To show you comparison... the above is for a model comparison at 7PM tomorrow.  One model keeps the warm air in Southern Ohio and the rain/snow line to the far south, but the other model allows the rain to sneak north a LOT more.  And the difference: temperature.  So a LOT will come down to the surface temps tomorrow and the temperatures a few hundred feet above us.  If we see warm air work in, then rain and ice is likely. 
Take the snow reading here and multiply it by 10.. so you can see the models over the last day have ramped up the precip amounts, but it also started hinting at more rain.  This is for Columbus.  South of I-70 has a better chance of the rain and ice mixing in for a while.  Far Northern Ohio should stay all snow, so that means Central Ohio will be, again, in the battle ground. 
As of 10AM Friday, here are the Winter Storm Warnings/Advisories.  I think most of these areas will see 3-5" of snow... BUT the big caveat is that if you stay all snow, near the freezing line... you could easily see pockets, or bands, of 6+" of snow.  I think the best odds of the higher bands will be along/just north of  I-70 in Western Ohio and then about 15-35 miles to the north of I-70 in Central and Eastern Ohio.

Keep in mind... any rain will melt your snow... quickly.

Timing-wise... The snow should start just before daybreak Saturday... fairly light at first, but it will pick up in intensity through the afternoon.  Low visibilities likely, but winds will be lighter than last Saturday's blinding snow squalls. The afternoon/early evening is where you will need to watch out for the icy mix and rain moving in from the South.  Once the sun sets, our temperatures will hold steady for a brief period of time, then begin to fall... The cold front will be pushing through here just before midnight, and most of the moisture will be on the way out, but a final band of snow is possible along the front.  So basically, it all depends on how warm we get later tomorrow, but travel will be dicey for most of Ohio.  That's what you should try to take away... travel will be dicey, as far as how much snow... temps may mean 3" at your house, but more just down the road where it is colder.

Then another brutal cold blast of air for Sunday and early next week... 4 more weeks til spring!  Can't wait!  Have a good one!

Andrew Buck Michael

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