Written: 2:00 AM 2/12/2021
Written by: Nick Dunn, ONW Forecaster
Good Friday Morning, everyone! It has been a tough week with snow, ice, and cold temperatures. Our forecast from Wednesday’s system verified fairly well overall, which was a far cry from Monday’s thump of 6-10″ of snow in many areas! We have learned our lessons from that and will improve on our forecasts even more!
While we will have a dry day today, it will not last long. A weak system will move through the region Saturday. However, most of the region shouldn’t have too many impacts from this. The corners of our region look to have the biggest “concerns” from this system. For those north of US-24 (Fort Wayne, IN to Toledo, OH), you could see a few inches of snow. For those in the Mid-Ohio Valley, some very light freezing rain with a glaze of ice is possible.
The NAM shows totals of ice under 0.05″, which is very reasonable given forecast soundings, nature of the precipitation, and the intensity.
Very light snow accumulation appears likely for most, with perhaps higher totals of 1-3″ north of US-24. We will re-evaluate this later today and bring updates as needed.
Another piece to the forecast this weekend is the cold weather we will see! Highs for Valentine’s Day look rather cold with many places stuck in the teens and 20’s for highs. These temperatures will play a role into our discussion from here on!
BIGGER STORY: MONDAY & TUESDAY
There has been plenty of discussion regarding a system Monday and Tuesday in the form of snow and ice. There are not many certainties this far out. However, we are gradually starting to see a clearer picture of what could happen. A long-duration wintry system is poised to take aim on the region. However, exact precipitation type, amount, and whether or not ice mixes in anywhere in the region remain quite unknown at this junction.
This handy graphic breaks down what we can and cannot tell you right now. This will come down to the track and intensity of the system. Also, once again we look to be dealt with a long-duration system. This has become the theme this winter it seems! This system looks to cause 24 hours or more of potential precipitation and travel impacts.
In terms of the track – let’s talk about this for a bit. Often times, we see very strong systems with plenty of moisture when a low-pressure system has Gulf of Mexico moisture to work with. That part of this looks very certain. If this takes a Northern Track, we will have to see how much warm air gets intruded into the region. If colder air can win out, we will see a lesser chance of ice. On a Southern Track, we would be all snow with lighter amounts. Likewise, if the track is somewhere in between these, we would likely see all snow. If you are a snow lover, root most for the “in between” scenario and secondly for the “Northern Track” scenario!
The track of the system will also be determined on temperatures. With colder weather expected this weekend, snow that falls Monday into Tuesday will likely stick very efficiently. In terms of potential icing, amounts are certainly unclear. We have noticed that we will have to watch for a zone of steady ice to fall for several hours if enough warm air can intrude northward!
You likely saw this graphic not too long ago! We can use a Plinko board to show how things can change up until the day of the event. Given the current jet stream and pattern we are in, often times we do not have fine details until about 4-8 hours or so away from the onset of precipitation! We are currently seeing some uncertainties and shifting with model data, so take what you will if you see model images. We are still at least 24 hours away from issuing any sort of call on snow or ice amounts. Anyone who is posting that is rather irresponsible and hoping for clicks, likes, and throwing up a prayer they are right. This system will require patience, so let’s give it that!
Beyond Monday (Sunday Night???) into Tuesday, there is already talk about systems after that. Use the Plinko board again and look at the Day 9 spot! We have identified the patterns, now we have to see what pans out over the next few days to see if it is even worth talking about or if it is just a one-model run wonder! Be responsible!
We know this is one of the most active patterns in several years, but let’s face it…we are overdue for this! We will not share any model images just yet. You may see them on social media, but let’s wait a bit longer. We will practice patience with this, and we are watching each model run to watch for trends. The bottom line here is to be prepared for a tricky start to the workweek. If timing continues to speed up a bit, we may need to issue forecasts sooner than Saturday.
Our entire team will continue to work effortlessly to keep you informed! Be sure you follow us on Facebook for more details!