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Northern Ohio Obs/Discussion Part 2

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Definitely an interesting few days coming up (if you want snow still)

The wrap around/lake enhanced snow Wednesday night looks like a general 1-3" for the Cleveland area, but could see 2-4 or 3-6" in the higher terrain due to lake enhancement.  NW OH likely sees heavier synoptic snow as it looks.

There will be off an on lake effect Thursday afternoon through Sunday morning...the flow through Friday may be pretty westerly or even WSW at times, but Friday night into the weekend we will see a more WNW or even NW flow.  Instability looks sufficient with a lot of moisture, so there should be enough additional lake effect for advisories and maybe even some warnings late Thursday into the weekend...though as always we'll need to watch the wind direction.

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11 hours ago, OHweather said:

Definitely an interesting few days coming up (if you want snow still)

The wrap around/lake enhanced snow Wednesday night looks like a general 1-3" for the Cleveland area, but could see 2-4 or 3-6" in the higher terrain due to lake enhancement.  NW OH likely sees heavier synoptic snow as it looks.

There will be off an on lake effect Thursday afternoon through Sunday morning...the flow through Friday may be pretty westerly or even WSW at times, but Friday night into the weekend we will see a more WNW or even NW flow.  Instability looks sufficient with a lot of moisture, so there should be enough additional lake effect for advisories and maybe even some warnings late Thursday into the weekend...though as always we'll need to watch the wind direction.

While I'm ready for Spring I wouldn't complain about a significant event. Not looking for a couple of sloppy inches at this point of the season. The way this storm is trending the western burbs of CLE may actually see a decent synoptic snowfall... with a northeast wind off the cold lake the lakeshore areas could see a quick changeover. 

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11 minutes ago, NEOH said:

While I'm ready for Spring I wouldn't complain about a significant event. Not looking for a couple of sloppy inches at this point of the season. The way this storm is trending the western burbs of CLE may actually see a decent synoptic snowfall... with a northeast wind off the cold lake the lakeshore areas could see a quick changeover. 

Ya I'm definitely more interested in the lake effect potential. 

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Suppose I should post this before it starts snowing...

With the 850mb low track still near or just west of Sandusky into western Lake Erie, expect the heaviest synoptic snows to fall in NW Ohio.  There, a long duration light snow from tonight (Tuesday night) through Wednesday evening, along with a period of moderate snow Wednesday afternoon when some modest fgen and deform ramp up will likely lead to a widespread 4 to locally 7".  The rain/snow line will slowly progress southeast during the day, with the west side changing over by early-mid afternoon, and Cleveland and the Snowbelt late-afternoon or early evening. 

In north-central and NE Ohio there will be less synoptic snow as the weak deform band quickly swings through, thinking the synoptic snow is 1-2 or 3" in Cleveland/Akron and 2-4" on the west side...generally, the synoptic snow will be heavier closer to the lake as the best lift passes to the north.  I do like the lake enhanced setup...temperatures get cold enough for lake enhancement from west to east between 8-10 PM and are quite optimal for several hours overnight with a NW flow backing towards WNW, with 700mb moisture not stripping away Cleveland points east until close to sunrise Thursday.  Usually when the lake induced instability gets above the -10C level (which occurs late-evening) there will be moderate to heavy orographic lift snow in these setups in the terrain downwind of the lake until the 700mb moisture strips away.  This gives a prolonged window from late evening through around sunrise Thursday of good lake enhanced snow east of Cleveland (tapers off slightly quicker south of Cleveland). 

My general rules of thumb in these lake enhanced scenarios (when it's cold enough, which it will be by late evening) are to take the highest QPF and assume at least a 15:1 ratio.  Some hi-res models have up to half an inch of QPF as lake enhanced snow through Thursday morning, which yields potentially over half a foot.  Another rule is that once it gets cold enough that rates in the higher terrain will be generally 0.5-1" per hour until the 700mb moisture strips away...given the duration (on top of the light synoptic snow in the early-mid evening) this also suggests over half a foot of lake enhancement in the prone spots. 

I'd like to see the hi-res stuff just a little juicier for widespread 6"+ totals, but think anyone in the hills south or east of Cleveland gets 4-7", with 6"+ being likely in the highest terrain of Geauga (and also NW PA) through Thursday morning.  With wind gusts of 25-35 mph and an increasingly fluffy snow overnight, there will be blowing and drifting snow and it will be quite wintry by Thursday morning.  There will be much less lake enhanced snow near the lakeshore and I'd expect the immediate lakeshore to come in on the low ends of the ranges across the board...worried about the western lakeshore missing the better synoptic snow to the west and better lake enhanced snow to to the east, so we'll see if those 4" totals can be met in northern Erie County.  Otherwise, I think the terrain does fine.

1871636644_2-25NEOH.png.2079e0f7dacedb3f46284341bfe1e7bb.png

In terms of the additional lake effect, conditions quickly become favorable for traditional lake effect Thursday morning and afternoon, though winds go westerly (maybe even slightly S of W at times) by late Thursday through the day Friday.  The lake effect will likely be moderate and accumulate efficiently Thursday afternoon into Friday morning with a long fetch and little shear, good lift and moisture in the DGZ, good synoptic support from a vort max rotating around the closed low to our northeast, and the edge of the synoptic moisture grazing Lake Erie...but, I think the heaviest snows in this period are focused near or just north of the 322 corridor in the northern Snowbelt into NW PA with a more westerly flow.  Given the duration of this setup and likely high ratios, where bands persist could see another 6-10" of snow Thursday afternoon through Friday morning.

There may be a lull Friday afternoon as we briefly get into some synoptic-scale sinking motion, but conditions become favorable again Friday night into Saturday morning.  A lobe of deep moisture and a good vort max move through, with winds slowly shifting from W to NW.  I think this is more of a lake enhanced setup with weaker instability but abundant moisture and some lift, but good snow growth given the temperature profiles.  Winds will favor broad convergence over the Cleveland area and Snowbelt which will help focus snow, and orographic lift will help too.  Given the decent duration and likely good ratios, this likely supports another 4-8" type accumulation from eastern Cuyahoga County into southern Lake, most of Geauga, inland Ashtabula and the higher terrain in NW PA Friday night into Saturday morning.  Some accumulations likely get into the secondary Snowbelt south of Cleveland by Saturday morning as winds go more NW. 

The lake effect likely winds down on Saturday as ridging builds in...time permitting I'll post a map for just the lake effect Thursday afternoon-Saturday on Wednesday.

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Thanks for the forecast OHWeather. This looks to be much more significant than I anticipated. Sounds like the 322 to Rt. 6 corridor could be the jackpot area. 

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Just issued by CLE  -  afternoon models all on track for a decent event. 

LAKE EFFECT SNOW WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 10 PM THIS EVENING TO 6 PM EST SATURDAY...

* WHAT...Heavy lake effect snow expected. Total snow accumulations through Saturday of 6 to 12 inches with locally higher amounts
  possible where lake effect snow bands persists and across the higher terrain. Winds gusting as high as 50 mph Thursday and
  Thursday night with blowing and drifting snow.

* WHERE...Cuyahoga, Lake, Geauga, Ashtabula Inland and Ashtabula  Lakeshore counties.

* WHEN...From 10 PM this evening to 6 PM EST Saturday. In particular, periods of heavy lake effect snow are expected from
  mid morning Thursday through Thursday night and again Friday night into Saturday.

* IMPACTS...Travel could be very difficult. Areas of blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. The hazardous conditions
  could impact the morning and or evening commutes. Gusty winds could bring down tree branches.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Rain will transition to lake enhanced snow this evening with moderate snow and amounts of 3 to locally 5
  inches tonight. An additional 4 to 8 inches is likely from lake effect snow Thursday and Thursday night. Lake effect snow will
  be ongoing across the region through Saturday. Wind chill  temperatures will be in the single digits through Saturday
  morning.

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I imagine conditions will be real bad with 50mph winds.  I see Buffalo went with blizzard warnings for a portion of their area. 

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Here's a map including all snow from this evening (made around 5 PM) through the lake effect that winds down on Saturday...we'll see how it verifies:

1824649136_2-26NEOH.png.155e8e983dc5a0c97101e67829b4feec.png

Some reasoning:

My thoughts on tonight haven't changed much...the synoptic snow this evening is not that heavy or efficient, but may drop up to an inch or two in the Cleveland area and east side.  Lake enhancement ramps up starting 9 or 10 PM and is most intense about 11 PM - 6 AM east of Cleveland, tapering slightly faster in the Cleveland area and secondary Snowbelt (and lingering past sunrise in NW PA).  I still think the duration of the lake enhanced snow and improving ratios will allow for 4-6" in the hills of the secondary Snowbelt by morning (when including the ongoing synoptic snow) and 4-7" for most of the higher terrain east of Cleveland, with 6"+ likely in northern Geauga County and most of interior NW PA.  Hi-res models continue to have 0.4-0.5" of QPF as snow in the higher terrain by morning which supports the potential for 6"+ in the most favored hills with improving ratios overnight.  Winds ramp up overnight as the ratios improve so it could be a pretty wintry scene by morning.  It will likely only be 2 or 3" tonight closer to the lake and in Cleveland proper, dropping off towards Sandusky where most of their snow was from the synoptic snow today with lighter snow from here on out.  With a strong NW flow 2"+ totals tonight likely make it down to Mansfield, Akron and near Youngstown. 

There's likely a bit of a lull Thursday morning, though lake effect conditions become passable in the afternoon.  Bands are likely disorganized Thursday afternoon but may drop a Coating to 2" as they go, and may start southwest of Cleveland and in the secondary Snowbelt before shifting into the primary Snowbelt towards evening.  Thursday evening through Friday morning is interesting as a surface trough and vort max move through slowly, adding lift.  The edge of the better synoptic moisture just grazes NE Ohio, though with a long fetch and some Lake Michigan moisture should be sufficient.  Although instability and moisture both are marginal to moderate, they are well focused in the DGZ Thursday night into Friday morning, so ratios will be good.  In terms of band placement, NAM guidance has a band well southwest of Cleveland Thursday evening but the RGEM lifts it into the primary Snowbelt quicker...given the westerly flow, I heavily favor the RGEM, with a few W-E oriented bands ikely from northeast Cuyahoga, Geauga and Lake through NW PA and SW NY.  Given the good ratios, long fetch, and synoptic lift for a pretty long period of time I expect these bands to drop 3-6 or 4-8" type amounts Thursday evening through Friday morning on parts of the primary NE Ohio Snowbelt into NW PA and SW NY.  There will be little south of Cleveland, though some snow showers and the synoptic lift could produce a local coating to 1" in the rest of NE Ohio in this window (though nothing organized outside of the primary Snowbelt).

There's likely a relative lull later Friday morning into the afternoon, before a fairly deep lobe of synoptic moisture and embedded shortwave drop across Lake Erie Friday night into Saturday morning.  As winds slowly shift from W to NW over the lake convergence will increase over the Snowbelt and there will be some upslope, with snow spreading south into the Cleveland area and eventually perhaps the secondary Snowbelt south of Cleveland again.  Ratios again look high with a decent amount of moisture and some synoptic lift, so I think another few to locally several inches can occur Friday night into Saturday, most in the higher terrain east of Cleveland into NW PA and SW NY, but also with some snow for the Cleveland area and secondary Snowbelt.

Given the multiple windows for snow and ratios, I think a widespread 10"+ is likely for the hills in the primary NE Ohio Snowbelt into NW PA, with 15-20" where bands are especially persistent.  The Cleveland area and lakeshore will see less, but occasional periods of snow will gradually add up some.  The secondary Snowbelt I'm debating if I went a bit too high, but if they get a few inches tonight, a little bit Thursday afternoon, and a couple inches or so Friday night into Saturday can squeak out the low end.  Most of the snow west of Lorain and south of Medina, Akron and Youngstown will fall tonight, though they may see some snow showers at times Thursday through Saturday that can add additional light amounts. 

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Between 4.5-5.5" on the deck this morning.  Off to a decent start so far.   Looks like some bands trying to form sw of CLE like Ohweather mentioned. 

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1 hour ago, dta1984 said:

Between 4.5-5.5" on the deck this morning.  Off to a decent start so far.   Looks like some bands trying to form sw of CLE like Ohweather mentioned. 

Definitely tough to measure with the strong winds. I'm going with 3.5" but that is probably not very accurate. Speaking of the winds... I wonder how much impact the strong winds will have on the lake effect bands as residence time will be greatly reduced. Good to see the lake effect starting to fire up. Ideally we need a wind directing in the 280-300 range for max snowfall in this area. Looks like we may be a bit too far south for the heaviest stuff.  

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4 minutes ago, NEOH said:

Definitely tough to measure with the strong winds. I'm going with 3.5" but that is probably not very accurate. Speaking of the winds... I wonder how much impact the strong winds will have on the lake effect bands as residence time will be greatly reduced. Good to see the lake effect starting to fire up. Ideally we need a wind directing in the 280-300 range for max snowfall in this area. Looks like we may be a bit too far south for the heaviest stuff.  

Winds have really picked up this morning.  I see the spotter in South Russell reported 5.8" which seems high. 

Ya it seems like we will be south of the main band until winds shift again tomorrow.  

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2 minutes ago, dta1984 said:

Winds have really picked up this morning.  I see the spotter in South Russell reported 5.8" which seems high. 

Ya it seems like we will be south of the main band until winds shift again tomorrow.  

That's definitely high. They must have measured a drift. Problem is that the ground was warm/wet prior to the snow, and with the high winds blowing the snow around its not easy to measure. 

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3" overnight at home, about inch or 2 along lakeshore.  Zero snow all morning along lake. Looks like a nice long duration lake effect cloud event in the making. This "winter" can be done with already.

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Last night was on the low end of what I hoped for...not at all a bust, but the initial warm ground, blowing snow, and only a few hours of true good lake enhancement all worked against more than a few inches in the hills (a local 5-6" spot in parts of NW PA).  The ongoing snow showers are decent (and under-modeled), but agree they lift north of NEOH and dta tonight as winds go W or even WSW.  Erie County PA will snow (and the airport has been snowing decently for a little while), but with a strong flow I do wonder if the immediate shore gets less than progged and snow sets up a bit inland (could certainly see how it's just inland but north of Edinboro tonight, but should shift inland tomorrow night).  

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The band of "better" snow showers running through Huron, Lorain, Medina, Summit, Portage and Mahoning Counties will be a wild card this evening.  It appears to be associated with a weak surface trough and is connected to Lake Michigan.  I'm worried that if it stays south this evening that it limits any organization of snow showers of the primary snowbelt in NE OH and NW PA, especially with strong winds also making it harder for bands to organize.  It's currently lifting north, slowly, and winds go a little more WSW the next few hours, but then gain a slight northerly component later this evening as the first vort max moves through.  Whether or not that band lifts north into the Snowbelt will determine how this evening goes...usually with a W or even WSW wind would expect the surface trough to end up near the lake, but it's starting pretty far south.  Based on the intensity of the snow showers the thermodynamic environment is sufficient for heavy snow if a band organizes, but we need a band to organize to see that.

Later tonight the winds do gain more of a southerly component which should push the surface trough north into the primary Snowbelt by morning, so I think either way we see a band flare up east of Cleveland late tonight into Friday morning that's moderate to heavy, but whether or not there's substantial snow this evening is sort of in question.

The setup still looks good for Friday evening through Saturday morning, with deeper moisture and good synoptic support likely making that less touchy than this evening.

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37 minutes ago, OHweather said:

The band of "better" snow showers running through Huron, Lorain, Medina, Summit, Portage and Mahoning Counties will be a wild card this evening.  It appears to be associated with a weak surface trough and is connected to Lake Michigan.  I'm worried that if it stays south this evening that it limits any organization of snow showers of the primary snowbelt in NE OH and NW PA, especially with strong winds also making it harder for bands to organize.  It's currently lifting north, slowly, and winds go a little more WSW the next few hours, but then gain a slight northerly component later this evening as the first vort max moves through.  Whether or not that band lifts north into the Snowbelt will determine how this evening goes...usually with a W or even WSW wind would expect the surface trough to end up near the lake, but it's starting pretty far south.  Based on the intensity of the snow showers the thermodynamic environment is sufficient for heavy snow if a band organizes, but we need a band to organize to see that.

Later tonight the winds do gain more of a southerly component which should push the surface trough north into the primary Snowbelt by morning, so I think either way we see a band flare up east of Cleveland late tonight into Friday morning that's moderate to heavy, but whether or not there's substantial snow this evening is sort of in question.

The setup still looks good for Friday evening through Saturday morning, with deeper moisture and good synoptic support likely making that less touchy than this evening.

We've had a good few bursts of snow here in Chagrin. Great flake size under the heavier returns. It has been interesting that the best snows have been well south of the snowbelt today. I think a contributing factor to the lack of organization today is the time of the year -- same sun angle as mid October. Bands tend to get disrupted during the daytime with early and late season events. You can almost see a shore parallel trying to form on radar now. I'm not good at picking up on troughs so I'll take your word that there is one to the south of here. Don't surface troughs usually push further south of the lakeshore when the waters are cold? Seems like they tend to hug the shoreline earlier in the season when the waters are warmer. CLE mentions tomorrow morning and afternoon for the greatest impacts at KCLE. 

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5 hours ago, NEOH said:

We've had a good few bursts of snow here in Chagrin. Great flake size under the heavier returns. It has been interesting that the best snows have been well south of the snowbelt today. I think a contributing factor to the lack of organization today is the time of the year -- same sun angle as mid October. Bands tend to get disrupted during the daytime with early and late season events. You can almost see a shore parallel trying to form on radar now. I'm not good at picking up on troughs so I'll take your word that there is one to the south of here. Don't surface troughs usually push further south of the lakeshore when the waters are cold? Seems like they tend to hug the shoreline earlier in the season when the waters are warmer. CLE mentions tomorrow morning and afternoon for the greatest impacts at KCLE. 

Yeah totally agree with you about the time of year limiting organization during the day.  The winds have a southerly component at MFD, CAK and YNG and have been W or WNW along the lake all day.  Winds have recently gone WSW at Akron and Ravenna and are more W along the lake, so we may be seeing that trough that's been inland either weaken or shift closer to the lake.  You are right that the troughs hug the lakeshore more when the temperature difference between the lake and air is greater.  

I feel pretty good about a band getting going later tonight east of Cleveland once we lose the diurnal influence and as the surface trough to the south either weakens or more definitively shifts north ahead of the second vort max that moves through early tomorrow...we'll see how far north that band ends up, and we'll see if we can get any organization over the next few hours before the first vort max moves through...that's where my skepticism/uncertainty is this evening.  I think the best snow of the event may ultimately be tomorrow night into early Saturday with the better synoptic support and more WNW flow, making it more widespread too.  The winds also weaken to more normal levels tomorrow through Saturday which will help any LES in that period. 

Edit: Will tack on what I posted on FB this afternoon...still mainly on track overall after last night/this morning, just removing the snow that fell last night from the board. 

624111393_2-27NEOH.png.4452faa1cb60bdc863a0aa04b50874b0.png

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Have had some heavy bursts on and off this evening.  Just cleared an average of 2.5" additional since this morning.  Running total at 7" .  Another heavy band moving in now. 

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1.5" additional overnight.  Total at 8.5" so far.  Looks like the main band is setting up around 90 this morning.  Currently steady snow in Chardon. 

The overnight wrf models show .3-.5" additional precip.  

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40 minutes ago, dta1984 said:

1.5" additional overnight.  Total at 8.5" so far.  Looks like the main band is setting up around 90 this morning.  Currently steady snow in Chardon. 

The overnight wrf models show .3-.5" additional precip.  

Snowing nicely in Chagrin as additional snow is developing south of the main band. My total is a little under yours but I didn't get a good measurement yesterday. Looks like the main show will be tonight. 

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16 minutes ago, WHEATCENT said:

north mentor is awful if you want lake effect

That's a feast or famine location for sure. Anywhere north of Rt. 90 lacks elevation. You can do pretty well in that area with a WSW wind direction though.

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This has honestly been a boring event to watch from the sidelines for the most part as it just slowly adds up...hopefully the ratios and moisture do the work tonight with WNW/NW winds favoring more widespread snow shifting inland. 

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Made our way to 10" at cabin (PA/NY border by Peak) for event thus far. Moderate snow as of now. Wonder if we can tickle 20" by tomorrow night...

5" tops at home in edinboro when I left this morning.  Webcam indicated light snow during day, so maybe up to 6 there.

Still only couple inches along lakeshore at work this AM

Time to get fire going and for a snow-walk in the woods!

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