Could a big snowstorm be heading to the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes? Will Ohio and Michigan see several inches of widespread snow or are these just social media “rumors”?
The computer forecast models have gradually came into pretty good agreement now four days out on a potent winter storm that will form somewhere between the Oklahoma Panhandle to the Gulf Coast and move northeastward. The storm is generally being shown to ride along the Ohio River Valley and then track up the Appalachian Mountains. The weather models are in general agreement with an area of major snow a couple hundred miles north and northwest of the low pressure center.
The European Model:
The American GFS Model:
Will a storm really happen?
Most likely yes. The models are in good agreement showing one. Take a look at the video animation from our weekly forecast video. It’s less than a week away from the possible winter blast. Many times when computer models are showing big storms it’s a week or more away from when they might hypothetically happen. We call these fantasy storms. You probably have seen snowfall accumulation maps on Facebook or Twitter showing feet of snow that never end up happening. The possible storm for Friday-Saturday could produce an area of a foot or more of snow, but there is still plenty of variable to work out.
The weather pattern supports a storm forming that could become strong. A large trough of low pressure will collide with energy and spin in the atmosphere several thousand feet aloft. This is a good setup for a low pressure to develop and pick up plenty of Gulf of Mexico moisture. There will be a cold front moving through across the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes. The low will likely ride along the front. There will be Arctic air coming into the northern Plains and The Great Lakes behind the front. Very mild air will be ahead of the front.
The combination of plenty of moisture and the clash of different air masses support a strong low. Normally these Panhandle Hook and App Runner storms do have a history of producing an area of significant snow.
What can change?
A lot! We are still a few days away, so the low might track a 30-200 miles different from what the models are showing. If a consistent trend stays on the models than confidence in the forecast will increase. Just because you see a snow map on social media with two feet of snow for your location DOES NOT mean that it will happen. But it’s not impossible.
Stay tuned to the forecast over the next few days and keep in mind that rain, sleet and snow are a possibility as we close out the week.
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