Saturday, January 31, 2015

Sunday Snow Bowl Video Forecast Update

Updated Super Snow Sunday Forecast

As our snow event Sunday and into Monday morning draws closer we are also growing more confident in the higher snow totals that have appeared possible the past day or so. We have increased our snow forecast to 10-13" across much of the area. Winds will pick up 15-25 mph with gusts to 30 mph Sunday night into Monday morning creating widespread blowing and drifting snow.

Here is an hour-by-hour snap shot of how the snow will likely fall:

#SuperSnowSunday: Forecast Update

We are now less than 12 hours away from the first flakes of the biggest snowfall of the season. 

We've gone over this forecast with a fine tooth comb, and we, the StormTrack Weather Team, are confident that very minimal changes will need to be made from this point out. 

Here's the timeline of events as we see it:

Saturday Afternoon/Evening: Mostly cloudy, mild, dry. 
10:00pm: A few flurries arrive
11:00pm: Snow arriving from the WSW
12:00am: The leading edge of #SuperSnowSunday is now in NW Ohio

7:00am: After light snow showers through the overnight hours, a 1-3" dusting of fresh snowfall will be on the ground by daybreak Sunday. 

1-3" snowfall accumulation by 7:00am Super Bowl Sunday

9:00am: Light snowfall. Slow accumulation.

**This isn’t going to be a quick downpour of snow, then be over. This event has a long-term duration and will last for over 24-hours.**

12:00pm: 3-5” of snowfall is likely by midday. 
1:00pmAs we get closer to game time, heavier and heavier snowfall will become an issue for travelers on the roadways.

Most intense snowfall occurs between 2-8pm Sunday

2:00pm: Between 2-8pm, the largest accumulations will build, nearly doubling the current accumulations from 3-5” to 6-10”.
4:00pm: Visibility will be low, roadways will be snow covered despite crew efforts, and winds will be gusting up to 25mph, creating blowing and drifting.
6:00pm: Close to 10" of snowfall and growing.

*6:30pm*: Game time. Travel will be nearly impossible. 

8:00pm: Blowing and drifting snow. Winds 10-20mph, gusts up to 25.
10:00pm: Light snow for the rest of the evening & overnight hours. 

A total of nearly 1 foot of snow for Super Bowl Sunday
5:00am: Blowing & drifting snow. Light flurries. Final ending showers exit the area.
12:00pm: Winter Storm Watch/Warning expires.

Total event accumulations will range between 8-11” with isolated amounts up to ONE FOOT OF SNOW. 

This is, without a doubt, the largest snow event of the season.

Friday, January 30, 2015

SuperBowl Sunday Snow Storm

All signs point to Sunday being the largest snow event of the season.
Travel will be difficult at best on Sunday for many football fanatics planning to hit the roads. You will KNOW by early afternoon whether you’re going to want to venture out in this one for the big game.

Winter Weather Watch in effect until Sunday evening for all NW Ohio/SE Michigan

 Snow begins late Saturday (10-11pm), picking up in intensity towards daybreak Sunday. 
Sunday will be an all day snow. Yes, this means snow before & during the Super Bowl game. Steady, moderate to heavy snowfall will be likely through the late morning, afternoon and early evening hours Sunday, eventually building accumulations of 6-10”.

Heavy Snow on Sunday
To put this into perspective, our largest snowfall this season was 2.8” on the 12th of January.
A far cry from 6”+! 

Blowing and drifting snow will be an issue through the late hours Sunday, creating larger drifts and making travel especially difficult after the majority of the accumulation has fallen.

Winds range between 10-20mph with temperatures in the low 20s.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Freezing Fog

Freezing Fog is a weather phenomenon that may seem rare, but is actually rather normal around these parts. 

In typical fog-fashion, freezing fog is a direct result of water vapor condensing out of the air and forming a cloud at the surface level. This low-lying cloud, or fog, can remain in it's gaseous/liquid state for longer than pure water. 

The freezing point of water is 32°, but a fog cloud, made up of particulate matter and water vapor molecules-- among other things-- can withstand the cold down to temperatures in the teens. This is mainly because the water vapor still needs something to freeze TO. On it's own, the fog can hover, but once the air reaches an environmental temperature below 14°, freezing fog becomes a concern as ice slowly adheres to local surfaces. 

Bowling Green State University Students walk to class in a post freezing fog environment

The true nature of the phenom occurs when the water vapor clings, or freezes directly, to any and all surfaces. Roads, trees, power lines, etc. Anything in the environment with a cold enough surface temperature can accumulate ice that is freezing on contact with the fog clouds. 

The deposition of ice on trees and other surfaces is known as hoar frost. 

Hoar Frost in Clyde, OH by

Hoar frost pic by @NUTSHELMARSHALL

Another phenom known as ice fog, may also occur, but only once the fog cloud is composed of tiny ice crystals, not water vapor droplets. This is typically in an environment that does not support supercooled water formation. This may also be referred to as 'Diamond Dust'.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Frigid Tuesday Morning Ahead

A light wind combined with very cold temperatures will cause wind chills to drop well below zero Tuesday morning. Many spots will be 5 to 15 degrees below zero, even locations close to the lake shore. Below is a high resolution model showing the wind chill around sunrise Tuesday morning. A few schools have already delayed due to snow covered roads. Wind chills may also become a factor for some districts. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Wintry Blast! Bring On The Snow!

Welcome to January. Cold. Frigid. Snowy.  This very well could be one of the harshest weeks that winter will throw at us this year.  Our first accumulating snow of the season will arrive tonight around midnight.  Steady snow overnight will make a mess of the Tuesday morning commute with 1 to 3" of snow expected on the ground by daybreak tomorrow.  Snow will continue through midday with an additional 1 to 2" of snow possible.  

Storm Timeline

Total snow accumulations in the Toledo area will be around 2 to 3" with snow totals up to 5" on the southern end of the area.  A shovel ready snowfall for all with many travel delays possible much of the week as bitter cold, frigid air follows!

Total Accumulations tonight through Tuesday PM

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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Ghosts of 2014 Winter Returning

You have to admit it. We have had a pretty easy winter so far. November was very cold but only dropped 2" of snow. December was mild and tied for the least snow on record for a December in Toledo history. But January is a new month and tends to feature the most dramatic winter weather and brutal cold. Just read Meteorologist Chris Vickers post about it:

And if the first 10 days of 2015 are any indications we are in for a long few months of winter this year.

If you take the average highs and lows from the 5th-10th on that forecast, you get a temperature of 9 degrees. Look at the numbers below. Slide that 9 degrees in and you get one of the coldest early January weeks on record.

Coldest January 5th-10th in Toledo History 
1912 4.50
1970 5.33
1942 5.50
1981 7.00
1875 7.08
1979 7.58
1988 8.25
1887 9.58
1884 10.33
1999 10.42

Why so cold? Our air both higher in the atmosphere and at ground level is quite literally coming from the north pole.

And speaking of cold....wind chills while not as extreme as a few days last year will be nothing to ignore. Check out some of the forecast model indications for Thursday morning. BRRR!

Don't forget about the snow. That is one thing that won't be like 2014 with storm after storm to start the new year. We are tracking a clipper that could bring several inches of snow to the area Tuesday morning. But outside of that most snow accumulations would be 1" or less for the next week.


There is obviously a long way yet to go in the winter this year but January is up to some old and cold antics that we experienced last year...

Winterfest SUNDAY Forecast

 The much anticipated second outdoor Toledo Walleye game was delayed Saturday evening until Sunday at 5 pm. The reason? Rain all day Saturday.

The delay no doubt was an annoyance to fans and families who showed up and were waiting in the stands. But this could be a blessing in disguise for true hockey lovers. The temperature will be dropping Sunday night with a chance for snow showers. This should make for a better photo op for families and the community. (Albiet at the cost of a few more layers of clothes for many fans)

So what does the weather look like Sunday? Let's take a quick look:

Cold: Check Game temp: low 30s dropping to upper 20s.

Snow: Check (Maybe). Scattered light snow will be around, may take some luck to hit FTF exactly. Any accumulations would be VERY light.

Wind: Check. This will the annoyance of the game. A wind will be hitting the first base line fans in the fact. Wind chills will be in the teens.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

January: Winter's Most Vengeful Month

It's the dead of winter.  January.  On average it is the coldest month of the entire year and leaves many of us longing for warm summer days ahead.  Last January was the 6th coldest January on record with an average temperature of 16.0° (-9.5° below average) and the most snow in recorded history 40.2" in any calendar month!  Could we withstand another month like that? Will we see another brutal hammering of winter's worst?  Short answer, No.  Before I get into what I think will happen in the month ahead, lets recap my prediction last month:

My December Prediction:  Much WARMER than Average -- Near Normal Precipitation

ACTUAL RESULTS: +3.3° Above Normal Temperature --  Below Normal by 1.59"

My January Prediction:  Slightly COOLER than Average -- Near NORMAL Snowfall

January is set to deliver on some of the coldest weather since last winter by early next week.  It will be a familiar sight with a strong ridge over the West Coast up to Alaska and a deep and persistent trough over the Great Lakes.  This allows colder polar air to drive out of Canada and into the Great Lakes most of next week.  This set up along with an active stream of energy stemming from the Pacific/Gulf of Alaska area will favor the development of Clipper systems that will reinforce colder air and bring regular chances of lighter snows.

GFS -- 500mb Height Anomalies valid 7 PM Tuesday, January 6th

I also looked at the overall climate models for the month of January. Below is a look at the last 25 model runs from the NCEP (National Centers for Environmental Prediction) CFSv2 forecast for the month of January.  Although many model runs indicate a warmer than average January, I don't necessary like the relative inconsistency of the recent model runs.  Ideally, a better degree of consistency would be desired before putting much emphasis on erratic model to model runs.  I'll stick with overall pattern recognition and other global models for now.
CFSv2 Monthly Temperature Anomaly

Finally, the AO -- Arctic Oscillation -- can have stronger correlations to our local weather during the winter months.  While not a tell all indicator, a negative (-AO) would be favorable for colder weather into the Great Lakes and eastern United States.  The monthly prognostication has the AO negative much of the month of January.  This may very well be a signal leading us to a colder month ahead. 

Arctic Oscillation

I honestly believe a month of January like last years would only be experienced once or twice in an entire lifetime in this area.  January of 1978 and 2014 would stand above any other month for harsh winter weather for anyone alive today.