While parts of the Valley will get a coating to 1/2″ worth of snow this afternoon and evening, the big story in the near term is the cold! Temperatures will drop below 10 in many spots tonight, then readings will stay in the teens Thursday.
How unusual is it to have a high of 17 degrees (our forecast) or colder this early in the season? Quite! It’s only happened 11 times in Youngstown since 1930 and the most recent early-season cold snap of this magnitude occurred in 1995 (we had 2 such days early in December that year).
You may be wondering what the record for “coldest high temperature” for tomorrow is. It is 10 degrees, set in 1962. Here’s a chart showing the “coldest high temperature” for each day of the year in Youngstown:
It’s been so cold lately that ice has started to form on the western (shallow) end of Lake Erie. It’s pretty early in the season for that.
Air masses have no trouble staying cold right now as they push out of Canada, because there is a deep snowpack over much of the U.S. This helps keep the air “refrigerated”; air masses that would normally modify coming south and east do not have much of a chance to do so. Current snow depth:
Ok, what about the weekend snow? Well by Saturday morning, low pressure will be pushing into the lower Ohio Valley:
Snow will break out before sunrise and will continue much of the day. At this point, it seems likely that precipitation will remain all snow; mixing with sleet could occur closer to I-70. How much? Looks like enough to shovel and plow…at least a few inches.
The European model, which is often one of the more accurate computer models we use, has a general 3-5″ snowfall:
These amounts seem reasonable. We will be updating the forecast frequently over the next few days!