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Analysis: Sandy's Ohio Impact Imminent

By: Buckey2745 , 2:32 PM GMT on October 28, 2012

We're a little more than 24 hours away from Sandy making landfall around the Delaware/New Jersey coast and Sandy has already began to effect our weather here in Central Ohio. The cold front that passed through on Friday has started to actually reverse course and back in to the area again. For the next 72 hours all of our weather will come from the east... a very rare thing.

Gusts this morning are already in the 25mph range, and this is as light as the winds will be until sometime on Halloween.

The Track
Computer models are finally coming to agreement on a landfall location of New Jersey. Some discrepancies still put it a little further south, but it's safe to say it won't make it as far south as Virginia or as far north as Long Island.

Sandy's track

The landfall of the storm has less impact on us than it did before when we thought it may go as far north as Maine. Ohio's focus will be on how far west it comes before it makes that turn back to the northeast. In terms of snow... the further west it comes, the closer we get to the warm core and lessen our snow chances... but increase our overall precipitation total. With each model run the storm comes further and further in to Central PA before moving out, which is why our snowfall forecast has started to look less likely.

The Wind
I mentioned earlier that our winds are just about as "calm" as they're going to be for a while. The wind field of this storm is going to be massive, encompassing a third of the country at it's height. The Euro model for Tuesday morning shows a strong northerly wind for us around 35kts:

Sandy's wind field, Tuesday morning

Winds gusts will progressively get stronger, with gusts today close to 30mph... Monday close to 40mph... and Tuesday close to 50mph. This will be a long term wind event. The only thing keeping us from a wind advisory is that clouds and precipitation Tuesday may keep winds just a little lower than the forecasted.

The Precipitation
This is the hardest part of the forecast. The track and the wind is pretty set in stone at this point. But the precipitation type and amount is almost impossible to predict, even this close to the event.

Most models still show an area of snow Monday night in to Tuesday developing across the central and western half of Ohio. There is no doubt that we will be cold enough aloft for snow:

850mb temps, Tuesday morning

The Euro model above shows 850mb temps around -4°C which is plenty cold enough to support snow, but surface temps may be just in the mid 30's. So why is there even any worry about accumulating snow? The snowfall rates may be so great Monday night in to Tuesday morning that the snow may pile up quicker than it can melt, leaving us with some light accumulation on grassy surfaces. This shouldn't be a serious snowfall event, but with very gusty winds Tuesday morning, snow could reduce visibilities down to a quarter mile.

Don't let The Weather Channel fool you. We will not have a blizzard.

Aside from snow, expect a very cold rain, with winds blowing rain totals may be hard to determine without radar estimates.

The latest QPF shows an extremely sharp gradient across Ohio, ranging from 0.25" in the west, to almost 4.00" in the east.

5 day HPC forecast

It'll be impossible to predict what rainfall totals might be here in Central Ohio since it all depends on how far west the storm's center comes, but I would just guess an inch of rain.

Obviously the impact of this storm is far greater than what we will see here in Ohio. It'll be minimal here compared to what they'll see in the Northeast, which is the real reason why some people are calling this The Perfect Storm 2, Frankenstorm, etc. It's huge. It'll be one of the biggest storms I've ever witnessed in my lifetime. It'll be a killer.

This is the last entry I'll write with analysis of the storm. We're close enough to feeling the effects that starting tomorrow I'll begin writing live blogs with updates and final forecasts for this storm, and posting any watches and warnings we may experience. Brace yourselves.

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

Reader Comments

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4. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
3:01 PM GMT on October 29, 2012
Buckey2745 has created a new entry.
3. Buckey2745
10:03 PM GMT on October 28, 2012
Sorry, I can't tell you the last time I remember a front passing to our east and reversing course, but I have to imagine it's been quite a while for us here in Central Ohio.

And you're right, I suppose it could technically be blizzard conditions, but I feel like it's unlikely those conditions are reached due to the moist nature of the snow that will fall. Thanks everyone!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
2. moriyah
5:03 PM GMT on October 28, 2012
You state 'The cold front that passed through on Friday has started to actually reverse course and back in to the area again. For the next 72 hours all of our weather will come from the east... a very rare thing.'
How rare? When was the last occurrence and where? Was it the same geography, weather, season, etc.?
Thank you.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1. Face43701
4:44 PM GMT on October 28, 2012
Technically - it COULD be a blizzard >35 wind for > 3 hours with heavy snow but no accumulation.

winds of at least 35 mph and visibilities reduced by falling and/or blowing snow to less than ¼ mile for at least three consecutive hours.
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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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