Central Ohio

LiveBlog: Halloween Storm

By: Buckey2745, 2:31 PM GMT on October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween everyone. Welcome to one of the busiest weather days we've had here in Central Ohio in a while. This is a liveblog covering the strong storm moving through our area today.

I was surprised to wake up this morning and not see a Wind Advisory for our area. And then, just a few minutes before 10am, the NWS came through:

Forecasts gusts are for up to 50mph, but more likely in the late evening.

We can go ahead and rule out the severe threat. There just will not be enough instability, as we are completely locked in with clouds for the entire day. Even if we got a small break in the clouds, I'm just not seeing the instability. That means the helicity and shear I've been talking about for a couple days will only be a factor when we talk about upper level winds mixing down with some of these showers.

The rain has finally started here in Central Ohio, and all of us are just hoping there's a break this evening for Trick or Treating. Some communities have already postponed while others, like Columbus, moved the start time up a little sooner.

I still think we get a break between the 5-7 timeframe as the HRRR suggests here at 6pm:

Updated: 7:17 PM GMT on October 31, 2013


Halloween Storm: One Day Out

By: Buckey2745, 7:42 PM GMT on October 30, 2013

Not much has changed in the past 24 hours, other than the intensity of this storm is appearing more and more imminent, not just a possibility anymore.

The SPC has been highlighting this risk all day with their Day 2 outlook, putting us under a Slight Risk. But notice the red area to our southwest... expect that to be the target for a Moderate Risk tomorrow:

Bold Predictions
I think the western half of the forecast area may see a Wind Advisory issued tomorrow morning. Gusts tomorrow afternoon may reach 40-50mph outside of thunderstorms around the tri-state.

I think our main focus here in the Columbus area may be after dark, when you see that area in red from the SPC start to inch our way.

The squall line should hold off until after the early evening trick or treat hours. At least that's what it looks like right now.

I'm putting the Columbus area at a very high 90% chance of seeing a Severe Thunderstorm Warning sometime tomorrow. I think the NWS will blanket the area ahead of the line of storms due to the potential for damaging winds mixing down.

I think somewhere in Ohio sees a Tornado Warning, just not in Columbus.

I'll start a LiveBlog tomorrow with updates.


Halloween Storm: Two Days Out

By: Buckey2745, 2:03 PM GMT on October 29, 2013

Technically we will start feeling the effects of our Halloween storm tomorrow, but the brunt of this won't hit us until Halloween evening.

First, tomorrow's weather:


Wednesday's weather won't be a washout by any means. The warm front will be pushing up in to our area, and warm conditions will prevail. The kicker will be if we see any destabilization. It seems very very unlikely considering the time of year - a warm front just doesn't pack enough energy for thunderstorms in October. But I wouldn't rule out a rumble of thunder during the day.

I say 0% chance of any sort of Thunderstorm or Tornado warning on Wednesday.


Day 3 of the SPC's convection outlook already has the southern part of our area in the Slight Risk for storms. I expect to see that creep in to the Columbus area by Thursday morning.


Because of this:

This map shows the forecasted Helicity values coming in to Thursday evening. Helicity is a measurement of the winds aloft combined with the relative storm motion. Essentially it's another measurment of shear and potential spin for tornadoes.

Now I know I said yesterday I didn't expect tornadoes, and I still don't expect them. However, with a system with this much energy and shear, I do expect the SPC to paint us with a 2% probability.

Most likely what we will see Thursday evening is a broken line, or even multiple squall line event, where any "breaks" in that line could be a good place for tornadoes to form.

This isn't a perfect representation of what we could expect since this isn't a broken line, but three years ago we had a similar event that produced a tornado close to home. On the radar you can see the notch in the line where the spin was just right for a tornado:

Right now I say there's a 30% chance for a Thunderstorm Warning and a 1% chance of a Torando Warning being issued on Thursday.

I'll post more tomorrow as models come in to better agreement on timing.


Busy Week, Halloween Storm

By: Buckey2745, 3:13 PM GMT on October 28, 2013

We finally got below freezing on the morning of October 24th, but never saw the white stuff. I thought we may see some overnight that night but the atmosphere dried up before temps dropped. We did see some sleet Wednesday night, our first truly frozen precipitation of the season, but snow stayed away.

But once we broke that mark of below freezing, three of our last four mornings have started below freezing. And that should be it for a while for the sub 32 temps.

Potent Halloween Storm Probable
It's something about Halloween around here that brings the big storms. Last year it was Sandy bringing some snow on the 30th. This year we have a storm that is forecasted to be very powerful, possibly bringing severe weather to the area.

Thursday Afternoon GFS

The storm appears to be your typical fall-time severe weather maker, with a tight gradient between a deep northern plains low and an Atlantic high wedging us with pretty decent shear.

What we won't see with this is snow. The thought last week when I talked about this storm was a southern low would develop on the tail of this cold front, ride up the Appalachians and drawn in even more cold air on the backside for a potential early season storm.

That won't be happening.

Instead we should be looking out for a possible Slight Risk of severe weather coming from the SPC in the next 24-36 hours for the Thursday afternoon timeframe. I think the biggest risk will be high winds with a possible squall line that may develop. CAPE will be low, shear will be high, so I doubt it's much of a hail or tornado event.

I'll post more as Thursday gets closer. This is a huge concern for Central Ohioans and most communities have their trick or treat festivities planned for that evening. Timing will be everything for this.

Severe Weather Stats:
Severe Thunderstorm Watches: 6
Severe Thunderstorm Warnings: 8
Tornado Watches: 1
Tornado Warnings: 0
Flood Watches: 7
Flood Warnings: 1
Heat Advisories: 4
Excessive Heat Warnings: 0
Red Flag Warnings: 0


First Flakes on Wednesday?

By: Buckey2745, 3:06 PM GMT on October 21, 2013

I talked about the potential for some of the white stuff in my last post for a October 22-23rd timeframe, and even as far out as that was, the models still hold true. The image from my last post showed a much more potent clipper diving down Tuesday night, but as of now the strength seemed to be off. But... cold air in place and just enough moisture means we could see some flakes flying Wednesday morning.

Take a look at the Euro and what it's hinting we could see Wednesday around the 7am timeframe:

With the 5400 diving far enough south, temps aloft should be right around the 25┬░ range, meaning plenty cold enough to support snow. Surface temps between roughly 2am-7am timeframe will be in the mid 30's, however depending on the intensity of the precipitation falling we could easily see a couple degrees get knocked off of that with evaporative cooling.

Snow Prediction
I feel pretty confident in saying we will see flakes flying around sunrise on Wednesday, however I don't feel confident that any will stick. Maybe on some grass or decks, but definitely nothing on the roads and nothing worth seriously measuring. I do not believe we will see a dusting.

First Freeze
After Wednesday's blustery and cold day, we could see our first freeze that night. Expect watches and advisories to go up by tomorrow, indicating the end of the growing season.

Halloween Snow?
I'm not up for making big predictions this far out, but a huge cold blast is forecasted for the end of the month, right now looking to be our coldest temps of the season.

The 180hr Euro shows 850mb temps diving down from Canada on the backside of a strong low by Halloween, meaning we could see lows easily in the 20's. Any precip that does fall will bring our first accumulating snow of the season.

All of these weather stories could change quite a bit over the past week, and I'll post with updates.

UPDATE: Wednesday Afternoon
Everything still seems to be lining up for a few hours of rain/snow mix tonight. Right now temps appear to stay up in the mid to even upper 30's, which would make this mix a lot more rain than snow. In fact I think you might have to look hard to see the snow mixed in at time.

Right now just the ETA and NAM are calling for actual accumulation, which is surprising. A swath from Indy to Cincy is predicted, on the range of 2". I completely disagree with that obviously, and I think if anywhere were to get some sort of dusting it would be counties closer to Columbus.

I predict no dusting, just some flakes flying.

UPDATE: Thursday Afternoon
Snow flew this morning, but not in my part of Franklin County. Parts north and west of Columbus saw as much as a dusting, but none mixed in around Canal Winchester.

Dayton may be the winner this morning with an inch measured, breaking a record for the shortest time between spring and fall snows (188 days).

Tonight our deep freeze sets in, as we're under Freeze Warnings, effectively ending our growing season.

If anything I think tonight might be our best chance of seeing the flakes flying. The latest HRRR model run is showing some sort of lake effect showers rotating around the broader upper trough. The bad news for snow lovers is the coverage is so light we shouldn't see any accumulation.

Updated: 7:49 PM GMT on October 23, 2013


Snow for October? It Could Happen.

By: Buckey2745, 6:47 PM GMT on October 15, 2013

I've already gotten a little ahead of myself once before about an October snow, so I understand if the call for snow in October might come across a little surprising. But once again the GFS is hinting at the possibility sometime next week with a clipper system of all things.

This GFS run is for the October 22-23 timeframe and shows a rather robust system sweeping down from Canada and with enough cold air on the backside of this could bring our first dusting of the season.

For the early going it's hard to say what the lower atmosphere will look like but it's safe to say any snow that does fall will probably melt on contact or maybe stick on grassy surfaces like last October.

Even if this scenario doesn't play out perfectly, these models give me more than enough confidence to say that the next 10-13 days will be a cold one, starting with a cold front approaching the area tonight and going on with subsequent disturbances that should reinforce a trough over the eastern US.

Remember, the earliest recorded snow in Columbus is October 18th, so this would rank up there with one of the earliest of all time if the trend continues.


October 6th: Slight Chance of Severe

By: Buckey2745, 12:55 PM GMT on October 06, 2013

For the first time in what seems like forever the SPC has Central Ohio under a Slight Risk for severe weather today.

This is coming from the warm side of Winter Storm Atlas, the same area that brought over a dozen tornadoes to the Plains on Friday. Our weather won't be nearly that bad. In fact I'd be surprised if that Slight Risk is even warranted.

The reason being this storm system will mainly be a soaker, with the western half of the state being under a Flood Watch. That abundant cloud cover and moisture makes instability pretty unlikely.

The western half of the state has already seen quite a bit of rain yesterday from the warm sector of this system, with us here in Canal Winchester only seeing about 0.28". Expect upwards of an inch more rain here in Columbus before this is all said and done. Temps will drop off as the front comes through and tomorrow will feel a lot more like an early fall day.

UPDATE: 4:46pm
It's possible our thunderstorm warning drought could be over as the cold front is approaching our area with a line of storms. A warning has appeared to our south. This line of storms could easily dump a half an inch of rain:

Updated: 8:49 PM GMT on October 06, 2013


Summer-like October

By: Buckey2745, 7:44 PM GMT on October 03, 2013

It's been quiet here in Central Ohio for quite a long time. The last Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Columbus was September 11th, but the last warning in Eastern Franklin County in the Canal Winchester area was all the way back on July 10th!

The summer was so uneventful that I could barely bang out more than a handful of posts. Even our "heat wave" wasn't anything to write home about with a max temp of 94° back in July.

So it's only appropriate that October feels more like summer than August or September did. Today we have three major weather events at once. Winter Storm Atlas is creating two of those for us; snow in the northern plains and tornadoes out ahead of it. The other one? Our first potential landfall of a Hurricane in the US: Tropical Storm Karen.

And both will miss us.

It's not to say that Atlas won't bring us some rain, but it certainly won't have a huge impact on our weather. And Karen? Completely east of us. Here are the forecasted tracks for both:

But it's not just these two storms that make it still feel like Summer here in Ohio. Much of the eastern US is under ridging, and will be for the good part of the next two weeks. This will bring us above average temps and unstable airmasses out ahead of approaching cold fronts.

Don't forget, October can bring some very volatile weather for us here in Central Ohio. Last year at the end of the month we saw Superstorm Sandy, which brought one of our earliest snowfalls in recent memory, even if it was just a dusting. Before that we had the October 2010 storm that brought a massive squall line and the lowest pressure ever recorded in the US (non-tropical). Even further back was the 1999 Circleville Tornado.

Expect to see something this October. Just not quite sure yet what...

Severe Weather Stats:
Severe Thunderstorm Watches: 6
Severe Thunderstorm Warnings: 7
Tornado Watches: 1
Tornado Warnings: 0
Flood Watches: 7
Flood Warnings: 1
Heat Advisories: 4
Excessive Heat Warnings: 0
Red Flag Warnings: 0


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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About Buckey2745

I'm a 31 year old weather enthusiast from Central Ohio. Certified SKYWARN storm spotter.

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Canal Winchester, OH
Elevation: 754 ft
Temperature: 48.5 °F
Dew Point: 43.6 °F
Humidity: 83%
Wind: 3.0 mph from the East
Wind Gust: 5.0 mph
Updated: 10:19 PM EST on February 20, 2017

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