Thursday, February 28, 2013

In Like a Lion (Cub)

Today is the last day of February (wow!), which means the old English proverb-- in like a lion, out like a lamb-- will be cited several times today. But will March live up to the hype?

This has to be photoshopped... right?
Instead, let's say, 'in like a lion-cub', to describe the upcoming transition into March. Weather will remain wintry and cold. Plus, with the chance of snowfall within the next 7 days, it would be wrong to classify this as a 'lamb-like' start to the month. However, there is warmth and sunshine on the horizon, so there is a silver lining.
Cute! But fierce.
Thursday: Temperatures are starting off steady from overnight in the lower 30s-- near freezing. Snow will be falling just south and east of the Toledo metro area, accumulating up to 0.5''. Early snowfall and breezy winds could reduce visibilities on/off.
Flurries are also possible Thursday afternoon, but any accumulation will occur mainly before noon. Highs will reach the middle 30s today. Breezy.
The Last Day of February
Friday: Slightly cooler with temperatures barely reaching the lower 30s and cloudy skies.

This Weekend: Sunshine finally returns. Saturday and Sunday will be partly cloudy, but staying cool. Highs in the upper 20s/lower 30s. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tuesday Night Snow Totals

Many snow lovers across Ohio were disappointed in this storm, while locations in Michigan hit the 'snow jackpot' from this late February storm.

Here are the official snow reports from the National Weather Service:

0700 AM     SNOW             ENE LITCHFIELD          42.04N  84.76W
02/27/2013  M5.1 INCH        HILLSDALE          MI   COCORAHS
0700 AM     HEAVY SNOW       6 ENE JONESVILLE        42.02N  84.55W
02/27/2013  M7.0 INCH        HILLSDALE          MI   COCORAHS

0800 AM     SNOW             MONROE                  41.92N 83.39W
02/27/2013  M0.8 INCH        MONROE             MI   CO-OP OBSERVER

0800 AM     SNOW             TIPTON                  42.02N 84.06W
02/27/2013  M6.0 INCH        LENAWEE            MI   CO-OP OBSERVER
   SYLVANIA 2SE           1.5   806 PM  2/26  SNOW SPOTTER


We continue to track light rain and snow this morning that will continue into the evening hours. A few heavy bands may drop visibilities and put a new slush on roadways, but widespread travel issues are not expected. Temperatures continue to hover a few degrees above freezing aiding in snow melt on contact and mainly wet road conditions.

Our rain and snow making system finally exits the Great Lakes on Thursday with chilly air moving in as we go into the weekend.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Expected Snow Through Wednesday

We are continuing to watch heavy rainfall late this afternoon into the evening hours. Strong winds and slightly colder air just off the ground have allowed ice to form on exposed surface like trees and road signs. Roads should remain above freezing and ice free until any snow begins.

The switch from rain to snow will be slow; first in southeast Michigan and then eventually into Ohio later tonight. Roads will become snow covered and slushy in southern Michigan and mainly wet with some slush in northern Ohio. Overall accumulations still look the heaviest north of Toledo with the least amount near Sandusky.

Stay Tuned for more updates.

Winter Weather But Not A Snowstorm

Track this winter weather yourself with StormTrack Interactive


We are continuing to watch our next storm that will impact northern Ohio and southern Michigan during the day Tuesday into Wednesday. Rain will be the dominate type of precipitation, with relatively minor snow accumulations possible. Here is the latest timeline for the storm to unfold:

This snow will not be the light and fluffy type of snow we have seen the past few snow makers, this will be the heavy wet type. That means it will be hard to shovel but will also be tough to accumulate. A particular location may see 2-3" (especially in southern Michigan) of snow FALL but it will compact to maybe only 1-2" on the ground. Snow lovers will be disappointed with this one.

Here are expected snow totals through WEDNESDAY EVENING. When you wake up Wednesday morning, many locations in Ohio will have less than a slushy inch of snow. Snow bands will continue on and off Wednesday during the day that could lead to more accumulations during the day.

Stay Tuned for more updates!


Monday, February 25, 2013

Tuesday/Wednesday Winter Storm

TIMING: Tuesday Afternoon-Wednesday Morning

Tuesday's forecast remains a rather tricky forecast with rain, snow, sleet, freezing rain all likely making an appearance. Our forecast from Sunday night remains largely on track, you can read that update here: SUNDAY UPDATE

A mix of rain and ice will move in around lunch Tuesday making for a few slick hours on untreated roads. By and large most of Ohio will switch over to all rain for a few hours during the afternoon. Colder air will hold on just enough over most of southeast Michigan to likely keep most precipitation in the form of snow Tuesday afternoon into the evening hours. This is where we expect the heaviest snow accumulations.

Another switch, back to snow is expected in Toledo and extreme northern Ohio around sunset with accumulations likely overnight into Wednesday.

Stay Tuned for more updates and follow the StormTrack Weather Team on Facebook and Twitter:

Robert Shiels: FACEBOOK
Chris Vickers: FACEBOOK
Ryan Wichman: FACEBOOK
Kimberly Newman: FACEBOOK

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Another Winter Storm


A tricky weather scenario is shaping up for Tuesday with rain, snow and ice pellets all possible. Before then Monday will be rather quiet and pleasant with partly sunny skies.

But a lot of OUR attention is on Tuesday afternoon as heavy rain, yes rain, is expected to move into northern Ohio. This rain will switch over to snow at times, mixing with sleet as well.

Hour by Hour Forecast for Tuesday late morning. Mainy rain in Ohio, some ice pellets.
This is why the forecast is so tricky. The track of the storm will not change. We have a very good idea of exactly where it will travel right up the Ohio River. No wiggles or wobbles will change snowfall amounts. Instead -- how HARD it rains -- will likely determine how much snow you see. Confused? Keep reading...

Think of it terms of you on a hot summer day.  You sweat. Right? That is how your body cools you off. The same will be happening Tuesday in the atmosphere. The amount of evaporation, due to all the rain, could cool down the air 1-2 degrees. That is JUST enough to switch from rain to heavy snow. Our Hour-by-Hour forecast shows that happening.
Hour by Hour forecast mid-afternoon
Having heavy rain switch to heavy snow in this manner doesn't happen often. That is why we are hesitant to put a lot of heavy snow in our forecast. Just yet. As the event draws closer (This post is Sunday evening, almost 48 hours before the storm) we will have a better idea of if this will actually happen.

ICE POTENTIAL: It appears a low chance right now we will see a lot of ice accumulation simply becuase of the ground/air temperature. Sure ice pellets may be falling and even accumulate. But for ice to cause major issues like we had last Friday, we need temperatures to be below 30. While snow/rain/ice pellets are falling Tuesday we are expecting temperatures to be 32-36 degrees.

Either way for most locations it switches to all snow by Tuesday evening with several inches of accumulation possible.

Light snow will continue Wednesday and Thursday. Stay patient for this VERY complicated forecast. We want to be accurate first and foremost with any accumulation forecast we make for you.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

February 23rd, 2013 Video Forecast

We are tracking snow, rain, sleet and even freezing rain this week. Watch the online forecast for the latest details:


Thursday, February 21, 2013

A "Wintry Blast" Tonight

A major winter storm continues to bury the southern and central plains today with heavy snow and ice.  Snow totals over 1 foot will be common across Kansas and a wicked ice storm in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas threatens to knock out power and down trees.  This is likely to be the strongest winter storm since the "Groundhog Day Blizzard" in 2011. 

This storm will impact our area early Friday morning in a weakened state.  Here is the timeline of what I expect to happen:

Snow is expected to arrive by 3 AM south of Toledo and spread north through 6 AM.  The duration of snow may be only a few hours, but a couple inches of snow may quickly pile up.  Here is the hour by hour forecast for snow accumulations through Friday morning:

After 7 AM I expect a wintry mix of sleet and freezing rain to develop across our southern counties and move north.  The sleet and ice will likely keep snow totals below 2" for most areas, but still will continue the threat of a very slippery morning commute. 

Here is a bit of a more technical analysis for how we forecast this change from snow to ice.  The following graphic is a model Skew-T of the lower level temperature and moisture profile of the atmosphere at 8 AM tomorrow morning. 

This appears to be the threshold time that snow may end and ice may begin.  Here is why.  Warm air advection ABOVE the surface takes the temperature to or above freezing.  At this point, snow at about 2,500 feet would melt.  However, at the surface cold air remains locked in with BELOW freezing temperatures.  Melted snow would then refreeze on or near the surface resulting in sleet or freezing rain.

Ice accumulations would be minimal, but any ice can make for big travel issues.  By noon, I expect the temperature at the surface to rise above freezing completely ending any chance of our wintry weather continuing beyond lunch time.   I'll have live updates all morning long, see you on WTOL 11 Your Morning starting at 4:30 AM ~Meteorologist Chris Vickers.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

February Morning Snow Squall

A quick moving band of snow created near-white out conditions Wednesday morning. Snow totals ranged from no snow outside of the bands over Defiance/Williams/Henry/Hancock counties to over 2 inches near Perrysburg. The snow was caused by a small piece of energy moving through the atmosphere and enhanced by the Great Lakes.

 Police reported multiple accidents on Toledo interstates as the snow rates increased for a short time (very similar to what happened the past Saturday ). Remember if you encounter one of these heavy bands of snow, to give extra room in front of you to the next car.

Here is the timelapse of StormTrack Doppler and several local cameras as the snow squall came through Wednesday morning. Enjoy!

Monday, February 18, 2013

February 16/17 Cedar Point Snow and Melt

Snow bands this weekend were captured at Cedar Point with a timelapsing camera. Check out the snow that fell on Saturday and then melting on Sunday from high on top of the 'Top Thrill Dragster'!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Asteroid & Meteor...Is The Sky Falling?!?

Hey Chicken Little, what's up with this?  Early on Friday morning, reports out of Russia came to light of a meteor streaking across the sky.  This had people exclaiming the following: 

This meteor was not any small hunk of change.  Estimates show the size of this meteor to be about 10 tons!  It exploded into smaller fragments upon entry into the earth's atmosphere, sending a sonic boom and shock wave over many square kilometres which shattered windows, collapsing roofs and shaking the ground.  Video of the meteors entry you must see can be found here: 

It's quite the "Cosmic Coincidence" that this happened so close to the next big astronomical occurrence.  This afternoon, the 15th of February 2013 one of the closest passes of an asteroid will happen at 2:24 PM.  Just how close will this be?  Take a look:

This is expected to be the "closest" pass of any asteroid of this size in modern history!  Here are the details to put it into perspective.  The moon is 239,000 miles away from earth, this asteroid is expected to pass only 17,200 miles from earth!  The nearest point to earth will happen at 2:24 PM this afternoon.  The asteroid itself is about 150 ft wide, or roughly the size of half a football field.  This asteroid will pass closer to the earth than many of our GPS and weather satellites (~22,000 miles) and will be within the gravitational pull of the earth.  Experts say, there is "no chance" this will make an impact on earth.  In case you wondering, it will NOT be visible across North America.   

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Great Flood Of 1913

left quote  The flood was second only to Noah's  right quote
—Bishop Milton Wright, father of Orville and Wilbur and Dayton flood survivor

In late March of 1913 rain fell in such an excess over the Ohio Valley that no river in Ohio and most of Indiana remained in its banks. Bridges, roads, railways, dams, and property were washed away. In its wake, at least 600 lost their lives, a quarter million people were left homeless, and damages were estimated in the hundreds of millions, making it at that time one of the worst natural disasters the United States had witnessed.

This is a testament that flooding has always, and will always occur.  Over the decades, many strides have been made to minimize the impacts of severe flooding on lives and property.  To a significant degree, many of these measures have been a great success.  Despite that, flooding still remains the number one weather related fatality with on average 94 deaths per year. 

I've recently highlighted some of the factors that weigh heavily on a spring flood outlook.  They include, but are not limited to: winter snow cover, ice thickness on rivers, current river levels and the potential for heavy spring rains.  In 1913, it was a matter of a "Perfect Storm" for what still stands today as epic flooding through the month of March.  March of 1913 was the 9th snowiest month on record with 13.3" of snow and the wettest month on record with 7.99" of precipitation over the month!  

Here is an archived weather map of a one of many dynamic storms to bring a bout of heavy rain to the Ohio River Valley:
March 14th 1913

The result of this heavy snow, spring melt, ice jams and heavy rains sent rivers spilling and raging over their banks.  Here is the record flooding on several of the area rivers:

Maumee River @ Waterville
(1) 19.90 ft on 03/28/1913
(2) 16.17 ft on 02/12/1959
(3) 15.31 ft on 01/01/1991
(4) 15.21 ft on 02/26/1985
(5) 15.00 ft on 02/29/1936

Blanchard River @ Findlay
(1) 18.50 ft on 03/13/1913
(2) 18.46 ft on 08/22/2007
(3) 17.43 ft on 06/14/1981
(4) 16.76 ft on 02/11/1959
(5) 16.50 ft on 02/07/2008

Maumee River @ Defiance
(1) 26.00 ft on 03/26/1913
(2) 20.50 ft on 03/15/1982
(3) 18.50 ft on 02/25/1985
(4) 17.97 ft on 02/08/2008
(5) 17.65 ft on 03/12/2009

Notice the RECORD flooding that has stood now for nearly 100 years!?!  Extreme weather events have and always will occur.  For more information on this historic flooding a website with additional information can be found here: