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Winter Storm Q: Ohio, 12 hours out

By: Buckey2745 , 8:36 PM GMT on February 21, 2013

Winter Storm Q is approaching our area this afternoon with the promise of precipitation setting in sometime in the early morning hours. I said yesterday I expected us to have a freezing rain advisory issued for our area, but instead the NWS in Wilmington has gone with a Winter Weather Advisory because of the overall mix of winter weather.

The Storm
Q is a large double barreled low that dropped down out of the Rockies and will be moving northeast from the Plains toward the Great Lakes region. Q is a typical late winter storm with both a snowy and a stormy side.

It's this powerful nature that gives it enough of a warm side to push warm air aloft and set us up for our icing event tonight.

The Setup
This isn't a textbook ice storm. This isn't an easy forecast. But the good news is this shouldn't be a serious event for us here in Central Ohio.

Currently at 2:30pm our temp is 25.9° with a slow rate of climb. We should see it drop just a little after dark, but by the warmer air from Q should start pushing in from the south. It's possible that going up just a couple thousand feet above the surface you could find temps a couple degrees above freezing.

At a glance this appears to be an easy forecast. Precip starts after midnight, temps at the surface don't rise above freezing until a couple hours after sunrise Friday, we should have a decent icing. However...

Temperatures aloft may still be cold enough in some places overnight to support snow in the onset. Of course that would reduce icing totals. I feel like this area will be just north of Columbus, actually leaving us in a favorable for the most icing.

The next trick will be the amount of moisture. Not many forecasters are accounting for the GFS model because of some inconsistancies, but I feel like it may actually be the most accurate when it comes to forecasting what will happen to this storm as it weakens and the jet stream tears it in two.

Below you can see the split of northern and southern moisture. The jet stream will shoot warm air directly in to our area, and I believe will push apart the moisture.

Obviously that would have a huge impact on accumulations, but I feel pretty confident that instead of a nice bow of freezing rain moving in tonight, we should see more of the scattered, broken variety.

That being said, I give this storm a pretty good chance of at least hampering travel for us. I predict .25" of snow, followed by a fairly light glazing of ice, maybe close to 0.1".

Luckily temps will rise above freezing shortly after sunrise, meaning any impact on the morning commute should melt off before any afternoon travel.

Season Stats:
Winter Weather Advisories- 7
Winter Storm Warnings- 1
Ice Storm Warnings- 0
Blizzard Warnings- 0
Freezing Rain Advisories- 0
Winter Storm Watches- 1
Wind Chill Advisories- 2
Wind Chill Warnings- 0
Blowing Snow Advisory- 0

Snowfall Totals:
October: 0.1" (Predicted: 0.1")
November: 0" (Predicted: 0.1")
December: 10.25" (Predicted: 10")
January: 3" (Predicted: 1.5")
February: 7.35" (Predicted: 5.75")
Season: 20.7"

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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2:56 PM GMT on February 22, 2013
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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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