January 20-21 Winter Weather

By: Buckey2745 , 8:50 PM GMT on January 20, 2012

Winter is trying to make a comeback here in the Great Lakes region, but not with a vengance. Just a small wimper.

I called for an inch out of yesterday's storm. Well, Circleville got roughly half an inch, even though ODOT reported 1.5" (I have no idea where they got that number). Much of the area saw between 0.5" and 1.5" from our weak clipper. It was enough to slow people down and delay schools this morning.

So now we look forward to this evening's storm, which promises to bring its own bag of tricks.

Since my post a couple days ago, the track of the low has shifted south slightly. What that means is maybe a hair more snow than freezing rain.

Here's the GFS model for late tonight when the storm will really begin to ramp up:

11pm run of the GFS.

So why the mix? That can be best explained by an illustration I made years ago. Essentially we have cold artic air in place (as proven by our low of 8┬░ this morning), and warm air aloft will filter in with the approach of this southern low pressure. Freezing rain is when warn air aloft doesn't allow snow to develop in the clouds and the precipitation falls as rain:

Temperatures will definitely be cold enough at the surface to support snow, with our temp expected to stay around the mid 20's from now until tomorrow late-morning. So anything that doesn't fall as snow will instantly freeze on contact.

This has brought out our second Winter Weather Advisory of the season, with a primary emphasis on the icing aspect of this storm.

UPDATE: The Winter Weather Advisory has now been upgraded to our first Winter Storm Warning of the season

Advisories and Warnings as of 3:29pm.

As with all of our winter weather, timing is everything with this storm. We should get some light snow showers to start this evening before switching over in the nightime hours to a mixed precip.

At this point timing is a difficult one to predict. I have to stick with the Wilmington office on a lot of their estimates because this is an extremely difficult storm to forecast. So here's the snow AND ice accumulations map:

Snow and Ice predictions for January 20-21 storm

That's best guess. Anything could change with this system, so all we can do is wait and see. Tonight should be a very interesting night, especially after midnight when everything should be freezing rain from Deleware, OH southward.

I'll post with updates.

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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