Meteorologist Ben Gelber talks Ohio’s first chance of snow


COLUMBUS (WCMH)—Wednesday’s upper 70s, with a hint of late summer in the air, gave way to chilly 50s today after a cold front slipped through quietly early this morning with a bit of rain—the first measurable moisture of the month at John Glenn Columbus International Airport.

A frost advisory has even been issued late tonight for northern and eastern Ohio, reflecting the progression of the seasons. The cooler weather—ideal for sparking the early color change—will moderate quickly this weekend, as we warm up into the 70s through the first half of next week. In fact, we will flirt with 80 degrees on Monday and Tuesday in central Ohio, before another cold front arrives to midweek.

READ MORE: David Mazza’s ‘way too early’ snow forecast for this winter

Snow blanketed the higher elevations of the northern Rockies this week—Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. Also worthy of note: the snowpack in parts of Canada is growing, a little ahead of schedule.

This is important because I am forecasting a major shift in the upper-level flow (jet stream) over the eastern half of the country, probably cold enough for a rain-snow mix in parts of northern Ohio and around the Great Lakes about 10 days from now.

Looking farther ahead, from the perspective of two noted annual publications, The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicted a warm October in the Ohio Valley (5 degrees above normal), but added, “Snowy, cold” for Halloween, with flurries lingering into early November. The Farmer’s Almanac agrees, noting “wet snow could mix in” between Oct. 28-31.

Of course, the caveat is that these generalized almanac forecasts are made months in advance, and I always evaluate weather patterns in the shorter range to allow for much better forecasting probabilities and model reliability (7-10 days). We’ll look at the Halloween forecast starting at the end of the third weekend of October.

READ MORE: Here’s the Old Farmer’s Almanac winter prediction for central Ohio

Although both almanacs are predicting an early winter, the forecast for late December and  January diverges—the Farmer’s Almanac  going all in on a harsh winter, while the Old Farmer’s Almanac is seeing a more average winter see-saw pattern, without much snow.

An early appearance of snowflakes does not necessarily mean we are in for a rough winter. There are many variables in play, some of which that do not even come into focus until December—Atlantic pressure patterns—that will ultimately have a significant impact on our winter weather.

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