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Winter Storm Nika: What Will It Do?

By: Buckey2745 , 3:43 PM GMT on February 04, 2014

It really appears that the storm will take a more western track which will bring us little snow, but a possible ice storm.

I've felt all along that this may be a mixed bag, so I want to wait until the latest Euro run verifies what the NAM and GFS are saying now, then I will post my predictions...

The Euro didn't change its stance, still calling for heavy snow right across Central Ohio, but you can't argue with logic and logic says we're in for an ice storm.

Let me preface this post by saying ice is the absolute hardest thing to predict. You can take an educated guess at it, but until the storm is right over you, it's impossible to tell what the different layers of the atmosphere will look like until it happens.

With that being said, here's what I think:

Expect the onset of precip in the Columbus area by 7pm. I think we'll start with snow, as temps should be down below 30┬░ and we're far enough out ahead of the storm that warm air has yet to override our cold pool.

We could have as much as 3-4 hours of snow, which will be the extend of our snow accumulation here in Franklin County.

A mixed bag. Freezing rain. Sleet. Maybe some snow flakes mixed in there. This is the portion of the even that will seriously limit snowfall accumulations as it'll also be the period of heaviest precip.

Right now if I had to guess, I think we get an extended period of sleet, not the dreaded freezing rain. Sleet isn't nearly as bad, as it won't actually accumulate on power lines or trees, but could still make for hazardous travel.

Precip comes to an end, rather abruptly too, and I think we may not even see much of a changeover back to snow as we dry out before cold air has enough time to rush back in.

With this scenario we're looking at all of our snowfall totals coming before midnight. After midnight it's just an icy mess out there.

I'm not saying sleet is the only p-type overnight, but I think it may be the dominant, accumulating up to a couple inches on grass and roads. But that mixed with the layer of snow and some freezing rain will make tomorrow a snow emergency day for the counties, probably with some to our far south under a level 3 as they are currently in an Ice Storm Warning.

This could be my most aggressive forecast yet because I think I'm going against a lot of recent trends and other forecasts that are out there. I think this will be a significant ice event for us. Even with sleet mixing in I think we will see up to half an inch of ice here in the Columbus area. More ice is possible in the southern and eastern portions of the county.

I have been saying ever since this storm came on our radar than I like the warmer solution. It seems every time we see one of these storms they always end up under performing for snow, and given the warm air that is forecasted to override, I think you take that and make it an icing event.

This is what I'm calling for:

I say 2" of snow here in Canal Winchester.

That area of "crippling ice" is where we could be if this storm takes any kind of jog north. As of now it looks like the low will pass somewhere in southeastern Ohio.

I'll admit, I don't have a ton of confidence in my own forecast. I have posted many times in the past 6 years about ice and snow fooling me, and this very well could be another time. We'll have to wait and see.

UPDATE: 2:55pm
This is proof of how unpredictable this storm is going to be. The 17z HRRR is showing the heavy snow band back over Columbus.

What this model does do a good job of depicting is the short distance between a heavy snow event and heavy ice. In about a 20 mile difference you can see 9" in Canal Winchester to almost nothing in Circleville:

Season Stats:
Winter Weather Advisories- 9
Winter Storm Warnings- 2
Ice Storm Warnings- 0
Blizzard Warnings- 0
Freezing Rain Advisories- 0
Winter Storm Watches- 3
Wind Chill Advisories- 4
Wind Chill Warnings- 2
Blowing Snow Advisory- 0

Snowfall Totals:
November: 3" (Predicted: 3")
December: 8.05" (Predicted: 7")
January: 15.1" (Predicted: 7")
February: 0" (Predicted: 0.75")
Season: 26.15"

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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5. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
6:47 PM GMT on February 05, 2014
Buckey2745 has created a new entry.
4. wildbluestreak
4:45 PM GMT on February 05, 2014
3ESE pickerington - would've preferred the 10" of flakes. could be may before the driveway melts. there's about 4" of flakes. the top half of that is ice laced.
might be bone dry, wish i'd stayed in cali.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
3. TheHermit43130
2:37 PM GMT on February 05, 2014
4" of snow and 1/4" of ice down my way.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
2. Buckey2745
6:59 PM GMT on February 04, 2014
Stole the words right out of my mouth...
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1. AnalogueKid
5:57 PM GMT on February 04, 2014
I spoke too soon, looks like we may get ice, yikes!
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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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Lehman Estates
Canal Winchester, OH
Elevation: 754 ft
Temperature: 62.3 °F
Dew Point: 52.8 °F
Humidity: 71%
Wind: 5.0 mph from the SSW
Wind Gust: 7.0 mph
Updated: 4:52 AM EDT on March 25, 2017

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