Cold (and lots of it!) is the big story in the short term. Thursday should be the coldest day all week but we'll be dry.
For good reason, most are focused on a snow-maker due to arrive late Friday night and into Saturday. We've been talking about this storm for almost a week now, even as the storm's pieces are just making it into the West Coast.
Over the next several days, the track will likely shift subtly. That will make small changes in how much snow you can expect to see in your neighborhood. This snow event will likely be our biggest so far this fall, with some travel impacts expected.
Let's talk about the time frame we're expecting: Friday itself should be quiet and you'll see pocket of sun. The system will really speed up, though, late Friday evening. We think the snow will begin to fly after midnight in far NW Ohio. Our tools show an inch of accumulation before sunrise, even for the Toledo area. You're likely to see some slick spots early Saturday morning, even as snow continues to fall.
It still looks like the most intense bands will arrive late Saturday morning, lasting through early afternoon. Depending on your location, this could continue through Saturday evening, especially farther to the east.
What are we going to see? It's long looked like several inches of snow are possible, even probable. A general band of more than three (3) inches is likely. We look at more than five computer models, and though they are all different, they do paint a similar picture. Those that brought the heaviest snowfall early in the week have dropped somewhat. Those that brought minimal totals at first have now picked up the pace and amounts. There is now an area we're tracking for heavier potential snowfall on Saturday. This is in the SE parts of our viewing area, in places like Tiffin, Findlay and Sandusky. These spots are primed for our highest snow totals.
The closer we get to the event, the more fine-tuned the forecast will become. One thing to watch for is the storm jumping across the Appalachians. There's another storm off of the Gulf Coast. This will make its way up the Atlantic Coast at the same time that our storm heads closer to home. Late Saturday, that storm will pull much of the energy out of the western system. That would drop the intensity of the storm in Ohio, and can often cut snow totals.
Here's one piece of good news! Because of how cold we'll be, almost all of what we see flying will be snow. We're not expecting much wintry mix, including freezing rain. Most of that will stay to the southwest.
- Ben Cathey