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Northern Ohio Obs/Discussion Part 2


Trent
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It's interesting to see how much moisture gets thrown back and remains across northern Ohio well after the storm moves northeast into Maine. The global models just don't have the resolution to accurately show lake enhancement from Lake Erie at this stage. This sort of reminds me of the east coast blizzard back in late February 2010. We had a good 2-3 days of rotating lake enhanced snow bands that added up to quite a bit in NE Ohio.

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My early guess is for a widespread 8-12" with locally over a foot in the high terrain (the immediate shore may see more like 6") late Monday thru Wednesday. Thinking a 2-4" or 3-5" synoptic snow late Monday through early Tueaday then significant lake enhancement with a Huron connection at times late Tuesday into Wednesday afternoon. Ratios will be good and duration is decent so it should add up. We will have to watch for a dry slot if the initial low is more NW like the NAM, but otherwise this looks like a good event. With fluffy snow and gusts over 30MPH especially Tuesday into Wednesday there could be a good amount of blowing snow too. 

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Looking at the 12z GFS ensemble members, every member except for a couple have at least 0.50-0.75" of QPF over NE OH and a number of them have over 1" in the NE corner of the state. Factor in ratios and the likelihood that those models are under doing QPF with the lake enhancement and that's quite a signal for a widespread heavy snow in NE OH.

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Here are some initial thoughts...some of this snow may "blow away" from the immediate shore, especially once we get to Tuesday, but elsewhere I feel good about at least the low ends being met with potential for the upper end of the ranges where the LES is most persistent and/or if we get some decent banding with the synoptic snow.

58c4df1bdee68_snow3-13prelim.thumb.jpg.183a3350f6856b2a2df76f2a5d7f40f5.jpg

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Winter storm watches are out for 6-10" across NE Ohio through Tuesday afternoon with "additional accumulations likely" afterwards. 

Euro has 0.75" liquid equivalent for CLE, so even without the aid of ratios this would be a solid event. Lake enhancement events can be tricky the way they play out, sometimes if you're north of 480, you can get screwed. 

I'm trying not to get too excited for this storm yet with it still being 36 hours away, but it's the best potential we've had in a couple years. 

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Haven't paid too much attention to model trends but it seems we're looking at our biggest synoptic snowfall of the year. Hopefully the energy doesn't transfer too quickly. Looks like a nice lake enhacement set up. The ground is pretty cold so it shouldn't melt as quickly as last week. With a sun angle the same as early October it will definitely have trouble sticking to roads during the day. 

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Pretty much our storm to lose. Great model guidance for at least 6" everywhere with lots of support for widespread double digit snowfall totals. Seeing the NWS put out maps with widespread 12-18" is something you don't see everyday here. 

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There was a definitely a reduction in QPF on the overnight/early morning models.  We'll see if that trend continues and how it affects snow totals...

For the synoptic snow late this afternoon through early Tuesday the models are generally showing 0.25 to 0.40" of QPF across the Cleveland/Akron areas with perhaps a tad more in far NE OH.  This will still be a long duration synoptic snow event as the 850mb and 700mb lows track right across northern OH between this evening and Tuesday morning keeping relatively modest large scale lift going from late this afternoon through early Tuesday.  We will see several hours of isentropic lift/mid-level warm air advection starting late this afternoon leading to what will likely be mainly light snow ahead of the mid-level low followed by getting into a relatively weak deformation zone late tonight through Tuesday morning, which should also keep light snow going.  With a shallow unstable layer over the lake and frictional convergence along the western shore with a ENE to NE flow after midnight tonight some lake enhancement could occur there overnight and allow for totals to be an inch or two higher than they would otherwise be.  Snow ratios could actually start out fairly high late this afternoon into early this evening as the best lift is focused in the mid-levels in the DGZ, though the flakes could get pretty small overnight as the best lift is focused below the DGZ.  Ratios should improve again early Tuesday as the low levels begin to cool, expanding the bottom of the DGZ quite a bit.  This improvement in ratios may align with the weak deformation zone along with some lake enhancement swinging through Cleveland/Akron and the snowbelt late tonight into early Tuesday.  Given all of this, average ratios of around 13-15:1 seem likely tonight which when combined with the model QPF suggests 3-6" of widespread snow across the northern couple tiers of counties in north-central and NE OH.  NW OH will not see as proglonged of a period of modest lift tonight so they may see more like 2 to locally 4".  Given the best large scale lift will be east of the western lakeshore, I think even with lake enhancement they should stay in the 3-6" range through early Tuesday.  Because the deformation zone appears fairly weak and because lake induced instability won't quite develop until later Tuesday morning, I don't expect widespread 6"+ totals across the Cleveland area or snowbelt through early Tuesday, but some of the higher terrain could be pushing 6" if everything goes well. 

As the mid-level lows go by Tuesday morning the low-level flow will gradually come around to the NNW and a deepening layer of instability will develop in the low levels over the lake which should allow lake enhancement and orographic lift to really ramp up by later Tuesday morning.  Synoptic snow should be rather light by this point, though with some mid-level frontogenesis as a steep 700mb temp gradient moves overhead on the backside of the 700mb low along with vorticity advection and mid-level height falls ahead of the approaching closed 500mb low there will be some large scale lift present which should keep some light synoptic snow going Tuesday morning into the early afternoon.  This weak synoptic snow combined with improving lake induced instability and terrain enhancement should allow widespread light to moderate snow to continue downwind of the lake through Tuesday afternoon.  Ratios should remain OK as the DGZ lowers into the low levels where the best lift with the lake and terrain enhancement will be.  These factors should allow another 2-3" of snow to fall during the day Tuesday, particularly in the higher terrain, with perhaps only an inch near the immediate shore and well inland.  Far NE OH could see 3-4" during the day Tuesday as better snow will linger a bit longer there into Tuesday morning...pushing totals thus far to 5-9" in the higher terrain through Tuesday afternoon and 4-7" elsewhere. 

As we head into Tuesday evening lake effect conditions improve more with equilibrium levels rising to 10k feet for much of the night with good moisture to over 10k feet as well.  One concern is a somewhat strong and sheered flow beneath the equilibrium level possibly hurting band organization.  With that said the thermodynamic profile will be quite favorable for good snow downwind of the lake and several vort maxes with the closed 500mb low will move overhead, adding some large scale lift and possibly enhancing the lake effect snow.  Snow ratios will be high with any lake effect snow that occurs.  I suspect either higher terrain or an upstream connection will be needed to get notable additional accumulations with the lake effect Tuesday night into Wednesday with the short fetch and somewhat stronger/sheered flow.  With some large scale lift I think even the shore sees at least another inch or two Tuesday night into Wednesday, but could struggle to see more.  The higher terrain should see at least a general 2-4" Tuesday night through Wednesday morning given the prolonged favorable upslope flow, thermodynamic environment, and periods of better large scale lift with vort maxes rotating overhead.  The key to getting significant lake effect given the short fetch and stronger than perfect winds/sheer in the low levels will be upstream connections to Lake Huron.  The models initially have this connection going into the west side early Tuesday evening before gradually swinging to central Cuyahoga and Summit Counties and points east overnight.  With a NNW flow I'd expect this connection to be more persistent east of Cleveland and into western Lake/Geauga/Portage Counties.  Snow rates of 1-2" per hour could occur with any band with an upstream connection that forms, so 3-7" of additional snow seems possible wherever this connection sets up...likely a bit east of Cleveland proper.

The large scale lift ends Wednesday morning as the closed 500mb low moves away and mid-levels really dry out.  The low levels remain pretty unstable so LES snow showers with a little additional snow will continue through the day, but additional amounts after 8am Wednesday should largely be 2" or less and confined to the higher terrain.  All of this adds up to totals near the shore of 5-9"...most likely in the lower half of that, but if some better lake enhancement occurs or if a Huron band affects certain areas the upper half is possible...and a general 8-13" in the higher terrain just inland from southern Lorain County east through the secondary and primary snowbelt.  Locations that see the better lake effect likely with the potential Huron connection will see totals of 10-16" in the higher terrain.  NW PA should see a more prolonged period of synoptic snow and better terrain enhancement, so should see 6-10" near the lakeshore and a widespread 10-18" inland. 

 

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Good write up as usual. 

Getting up and looking at the models was disappointing this morning. But 9 times out of 10 a reduction in moisture happens 24 hours out. 

The other big thing to keep in mind is storm total versus snow depth. We are talking about a long duration light snow event in mid March. What ends up being a 7" total over 3 days might equate to a depth never going over 4". My optimism closer to the lake has diminished. I think hoping for 3-4" tonight through mid morning tomorrow is a realistic outcome. After that, probably not much here.

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Ouch. NAM comes in even drier overnight through about noon tomorrow. It only shows a widespread 2-4" snowfall for the region, 2" far west and 4" in far NE Ohio.

The trends haven't been good. Hopefully the lake effect afterwards can pull through. As we all know, the models are never that great at depicting snow bands from Lake Erie.

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18 minutes ago, Trent said:

Based on the radar from Milwaukee, the lake effect/enhanced snow in Wisconsin seems to be doing well. Hopefully that bodes well for Northern Ohio tomorrow. 

Ya saw the 9.5" report at the Milwaukee airport in the other thread.  While the radar doesn't look the greatest, it should improve.  

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The snow seems to be consolidating out west.  The main show will probably be the LES that develops behind the storm. It will be interesting to see where the huron band sets up. Wonder if the persistent easterly flow will be tough to overcome at first.

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4 minutes ago, LakeEffectOH said:

CLE has expanded the 12-18" storm totals.  Last night, the shading was for northern Geauga county & Erie county PA.  Earlier today, the western edge of the 12-18 just touched the Cuyahoga/Geauga line, but covered the Primary belt east into PA.

Now...

3-17 Snow Totals As of 5pm..JPG

Noticed that too.  They are sticking to their amounts and increasing some areas.  12z Wrfs look good still.  

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2 hours ago, Floydbuster said:

Here in Southern Summit County...nothing yet. Looks very clear outside. If it doesn't deliver decently, folks will call this one a bust.

The issue is maps have been floating around of 8-12" down to southern Summit County which won't occur outside of perhaps a very localized corridor that sees a good LES band Tuesday night. 

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1 hour ago, OHweather said:

The issue is maps have been floating around of 8-12" down to southern Summit County which won't occur outside of perhaps a very localized corridor that sees a good LES band Tuesday night. 

Yeah I'm near Stow and still no precipitation at all as of 3:35am.

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The wind sure is whipping. Walking outside this morning there are a lot of areas with bare grass and then areas of 5-6" drifts. My entire yard has grass tips still showing with drifts near fences and south facing areas (where wind blew the snow off the roof). 

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4 hours ago, Floydbuster said:

Yeah I'm near Stow and still no precipitation at all as of 3:35am.

Every ob around you reported snow by like 8pm, and I'm not 10 miles from you and it was definitely snowing, so you're severely exaggerating. With that said, the synoptic snow did underperform...I have close to 3" in NE Summit County, was hoping for a little more.  Every LSR from CLE so far has been 2-3.5" for north central and NE Ohio, which is a couple of inches lower than I would have hoped for. 

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