No-Hype Analysis of Upcoming Weather Pattern, Including “Potential” Storm

We are busting out of the Deep Freeze late this week, with temperatures in the 20s this afternoon, near freezing Friday and near 40 on Saturday. However, with a front settling across the region tonight through Saturday morning, a little snow will fall at times.

One of the tools meteorologists use in the short range is the “Short Range Ensemble Forecast” model and it looks like this:


The most recent run of that model is the green line, while the oldest is the blue. The trend on this and other models has been LESS predicted snow each run. The most recent run gives the Youngstown area a total of 1.3″ between Thursday night and Saturday morning. Snow that does fall will be very light and travel headaches should be minimal.

By Saturday afternoon and evening, the atmosphere will have warmed enough that an approaching cold front will produce RAIN, not snow. Check out the nice surge of milder air coming north on Saturday’s high temperature map:


Behind the cold front, next week will start colder, but thankfully not as cold as it has been.

Now, what about the midweek storm????

It seems likely that there will be a significant storm system approaching from the southwest late Tuesday into Wednesday. That said, the weather disturbance that will lead to the storm is wayyyyy out over the Pacific right now. In fact it’s just south of Alaska:


Until the disturbance makes it onto the mainland US this weekend, computer models will not be completely trusted by experienced meteorologists.

That said, right now the models have the same “general” idea with how things will evolve. Here’s the European model for Tuesday night. It has low pressure in southwest Ohio, with a warm front nosing into northeast Ohio:


The GFS model has a similar look:


If this does in fact end up being the exact placement of these features, we would likely have several hours of snow Tuesday evening, then a risk for mixed precipitation. Why could freezing rain and/or sleet take over? The air 3,000-6,000 feet above our heads may warm to above freezing, resulting in falling snow melting.

Here’s the projected freezing line at around 5,000 feet Tuesday night at 1am:


As I said, until the weekend, I am going to take everything the models say with a grain of salt. I am showing you the most LIKELY scenarios based on the CURRENT information, but this information is likely to change at least a little over the next few days.

IF mixed precipitation does occur, snow amounts could be cut by a significant margin. If there is little or no mixing, this storm, based on the current information, has the potential to bring at least a half a foot of snow.

I will of course keep you updated here, on TV, on social media and on my Weather For Weather Geeks video.

After the storm….COLD! Latest computer models paint a very cold picture for the 2nd week of February:


Winter is, sigh, FAR from over.

Thanks for reading!


Harsh Cold, Then a Break? What About February?

“Winter Fatigue” is setting in, big time. Each time I have posted about the cold and snow on social media this week, the comments have shown that we are getting fed up with the icy grip Old Man Winter has on us.

There are no changes to my thinking in how the weather will evolve over the next week. 3-5″ of snow Friday night into Saturday…then another 2-4″ Sunday afternoon into Sunday night. After that, BRUTAL cold Monday through Thursday. Wind chills will be as low as -30 or so Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Be sure and check in frequently on my Facebook and Twitter feeds for the latest.

What about after that??? Well, first of all, it’s much too early to say what the Summer will be like.   I will say that a cold winter usually does not mean it will be a cool or hot summer; there really is not much of a correlation most years.

But we can take some educated guesses on Super Bowl/Groundhog Day weekend and February as a whole. Let’s compare the weather pattern now vs. what is expected in 9 days (Super Bowl Sunday).

Saturday’s upper-air chart shows our Polar Vortex over Hudson Bay in Canada, with a MASSIVE ridge of high pressure over the West Coast. This pattern is allowing cold air to make a beeline straight from northern Canada into our region.


By February 2nd, the computer models are showing a pattern that is finally changing (at least temporarily):

sbowl500Notice the Polar Vortex is farther north, closer to where it usually lives. Also notice the West Coast ridge has reoriented itself over the Gulf of Alaska. Now that that massive wall of high pressure is away from the West Coast, Pacific air (instead of arctic air) should be allowed to move across the country.


30s, maybe 40!!!!! Break out the noisemakers and party hats.

Back to January for a minute. It has been cold, yes, but we are not in the Top 10 coldest Januarys on record, YET.

This month’s average temperature: 21.0 degrees.


Here’s the top 10 coldest Januarys on record in Youngstown:


19.2 degrees gets us on to the list. We will probably get there next week.

I looked at a handful of the years in that list to see what February was like after that cold January. It’s a mixed bag; some of those Februarys were warmer than average (which is 26.1 degrees), some colder:


As for this February…despite the early part of the month being much more tolerable than much of January has been…..long-range models and forecasters are indicating that overall it will be cold (with severe cold likely in Midwest/northern Plains):


Spring begins March 20. Hang in there.