Winter Storm Ion: One Day Out

By: Buckey2745 , 7:52 PM GMT on January 04, 2014

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This storm could be one of the most difficult storms I have ever tried to forecast. You've got a low pressure riding up the Appalachians and extreme arctic air rushing in behind it. But where does the low track? And how quickly does the arctic air rush in? How much rain do we see? I'll try my best to answer all of that.

The Track
If I could answer that question, I'd have the answers to every other question above. A little west and we're looking at a mostly rain event. A little east and we're looking at some of the biggest snow totals we've seen here in Canal Winchester in years.

Below is the latest GFS model from about 7pm tomorrow night with the track highlighted. I selected this model because I think it's the most likely track, as the GFS has been pretty consistent over the past couple days.

Usually a track like this would bring us a ton of rain, but cold air is a huge factor with this storm. First, we nearly reached 0° yesterday morning and we have 5" of snow cover, so cold air is entrenched in our area. Second, the extreme cold that this deepening low will bring in. That means anything just to the west, and eventually south, of this low will be snow.

The majority of snow for us here in Canal Winchester will come after dark as the low passes off to our east and very heavy snow wraps around. But how much will fall before the main event?

The Forecast
I think we're going to see a huge gradient from southeastern Franklin County to northwestern. A 25 mile difference could mean the difference between 4" of snow, at least.

Tomorrow morning early should start with possible freezing rain or snow before we see a pretty good mix over to rain/snow, and unfortunately for us here east of I-71... all rain for a short time. That all rain will drastically reduce our totals.

But... once it switches back to all snow, it'll be heavy. Very heavy. We could see snowfall rates of 1.5" an hour, or more!

Here's my snowfall prediction map:

80 miles is the difference between 1" of snow and 12" of snow. That's not an understatement. So picture that gradient and move in a few miles in any direction. That's the difference in a little movement in the track.

I think this storm comes in a little warmer than some are forecasting. Maybe I'm wrong on this, but every other southern low we've seen in the past couple years has surged a decent warm sector ahead of the low, bringing us hours of just rain. I think we see 35° - 36° by tomorrow afternoon, and a decent deficit in our overall snow totals.

For us here in Canal Winchester I'm going with 4" of snow, with the majority of that coming in after dark on the backside.

I plan on LiveBlogging tomorrow, and also addressing the extreme cold coming in.

UPDATE: 6:07pm
Our Winter Storm Watch has been upgraded to a Winter Weather Advisory here in Columbus, with Warnings to all counties to our north and west. If... and this is a huge if... the next model run comes through just a tad further east, we could see the Warnings expanded in to our county.

It looks like the 18Z GFS is trending just a few miles further west, which is why the NWS is only calling for 2-4" for now.

This is why there will be a liveblog tomorrow because this situation will change by the second. Below are the warnings. Keep in mind, we are actually under a Wind Chill Warning starting tomorrow evening, also.

Season Stats:
Winter Weather Advisories- 6
Winter Storm Warnings- 1
Ice Storm Warnings- 0
Blizzard Warnings- 0
Freezing Rain Advisories- 0
Winter Storm Watches- 2
Wind Chill Advisories- 1
Wind Chill Warnings- 1
Blowing Snow Advisory- 0

Snowfall Totals:
November: 3" (Predicted: 3")
December: 8.05" (Predicted: 7")
January: 5" (Predicted: 2")
Season: 16.05"

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3. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
3:11 PM GMT on January 05, 2014
Buckey2745 has created a new entry.
2. mapcat
6:48 AM GMT on January 05, 2014
Will OSU cancel classes? My fingers are crossed.

Looking forward to the live blog! Hope you get all the snow you want. Up here in Delaware I suspect we'll get a little more than you will.
Member Since: March 26, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 10
1. AnalogueKid
4:54 AM GMT on January 05, 2014
I'll be following your liveblog closely tomorrow as the wife needs to take a trip to Cincinnati and I'm trying to avoid the worst of the storm.

Regardless, this should be quite an interesting event!
Member Since: December 11, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 120

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About Buckey2745

I'm a 30 year old weather enthusiast from Central Ohio. Certified SKYWARN storm spotter.

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Canal Winchester, OH
Elevation: 754 ft
Temperature: 36.9 °F
Dew Point: 32.2 °F
Humidity: 83%
Wind: 2.0 mph from the East
Wind Gust: 5.0 mph
Updated: 10:33 AM EST on January 25, 2015

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