The day started frosty and foggy with temperatures in the 20s, but a strong warm front is tracking our way this morning with rain along it. Here’s the radar snapshot around 9:30am:
Plan on a wet midday across the Valley. Here’s the 1pm simulated radar:
After the first wave of rain lifts across the area, a break in the rain will occur for much of the late afternoon and evening hours. It will turn milder and we may reach our high VERY late in the day…perhaps after 9pm. Check out the temperature map for 9pm this evening, it’s easy to pick out the warm front!
The threat for severe weather is certainly highest from I-70 south. That’s the area the Storm Prediction Center has outlined in the enhanced risk (yellow):
The line of showers and thunderstorms that is expected to bring the threat for wind damage will roll through the Ohio Valley late this evening through the overnight. The simulated radar at 1:00am shows the line bearing down on NE Ohio/western PA:
So what do I expect to happen around the Mahoning and Shenango Valleys? A brief, perhaps less than 20 minute period of wind speeds that could exceed 45 mph as this line pushes through sometime between 11pm-2am. A period of pretty heavy rain around the same time.
I think the risk for wind speeds high enough to cause damage is pretty low, but not zero. The wind at 3,000-5,000 feet will be SCREAMING and it won’t take much to bring some of that wind energy down. The wind at 5,000 feet will be between 70-90 mph late this evening:
The threat for hail and tornadoes is very low.
One thing for sure, we don’t need this rain, with the deep snow pack and warming temperatures. Flooding is a concern, especially near rivers and in areas of poor drainage. Some basement flooding is possible. The snow pack contains about 1″ of water right now. How much rain will fall? Looks like an average of 0.75-1.00″.
Here’s the latest rain forecast from the NWS:
The latest SREF model, an ensemble model with 21 “members”, gives an average of 1″ or so, with a range of about 0.60″ to 1.30″:
The latest river forecasts from the NWS show the Mahoning River rising above flood stage at Leavittsburg and Youngstown.
Leavittsburg (notice crest is not until Saturday morning):
Ice jams could cause additional problems.
Finally, a look at the long range. Unfortunately, we are heading right back into the pattern that has produced the harsh cold for much of this winter. Take a look at the 5-10 temperature outlook across the country:
Temperatures may be around 10 degrees below average for that period (Feb 25-March 2) here. The actual numbers (highs/lows) on this same model for the next 16 days are kind of obscene, especially right around the end of February and start of March:
Don’t throw tomatoes at me!