COLUMBUS (WCMH) – All eyes are on the big weather system off to the west of us. It is about 1,000 miles away tonight, and will continue to march towards our area on Thursday and Friday.
The good news, we are going to see another very warm day on Thursday, with highs back into the 50s, the bad news, this will give our atmosphere time to load up the moisture ahead of our winter weather system for Friday.
What to expect on Friday with this winter storm:
So the cold front will move into our area on Friday morning, but temperatures will still be warm. In fact we will still be in the lower 50s by midnight Friday morning, but dropping to the lower 40s by daybreak.
Below you can see that green boundary showing up from near Newark down to Washington Court House, that is the cold frontal boundary on this model. Notice there is plenty of rain behind it as temperatures will still be in the upper 30s to low 40s directly behind it by 7am!
Below you can see the forecast for noon on Friday, and this is when we will start seeing a mix of rain, sleet, and snow to the west of I-71, but still rain showers east of I-71.
Below, by 5pm, the colder air is sliding more to the east as the low to the south and southwest of is pivoting into West Virginia. This will give us wet snow, and rain mixed in most of our area. This is important to lower snowfall totals to see this mix last through the day like this. If the colder air is a bit faster and moves east earlier, we could see more snow by this point in the forecast, which would enhance our totals.
After the sun goes down, the precipitation changes over to all snow in our area, and starts to wrap up a bit to the northwest part of the state. Our in-house model in this run is a bit more aggressive in taking that low northeast, and ending the snowfall in our state in parts earlier.
As you notice as we head through Friday night and into Saturday morning, the heaviest band of snow will head up I-71, through northeast Ohio where temperatures will be the coldest and then up into northern Pennsylvania and northern New York. Because the northeast part of the state will see the longest period of cold weather and precipitation, I think that part of the state will see the heaviest snowfall totals as of now.
I still think the lowest numbers are going to be in the southeast where temperatures will remain above freezing well into the early morning hours on Saturday, and by that time, the heaviest of the precipitation will be north and northwest of that area. Therefore the snowfall numbers will be the lowest. One threat that might exist in that part of the state, as well as others, is minor flooding. This will be a bigger risk near streams and rivers where ice dams could form, causing the water to back up.
Add in the potential for some good winter rain before the snow arrives, and this could add stress to the rivers/steams. When this ice dam breaks, water will surge behind it causing a rapid rise down stream. Please take any flood warnings with extra caution this weekend.
So what can we expect as of now for snowfall totals for Friday & Saturday
Again, as we have stated in previous stories, on-line, social media, and on-air, there is A LOT of data out there. Right now the bulk of the information that is available is pointing to a forecast that shows higher total up to the northeast part of the state, and lower totals to the southeast part of the state.
We will continue to monitor this closely over the next 48 hours to the exact track of this storm system and how much wintry precip. you can expect!
If you have any questions about this system, you know I love talking weather! Hit me up, firstname.lastname@example.org