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Here is the latest on the winter storm expected to hit this weekend

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Posted at 7:54 PM, Jan 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-17 13:20:37-05

CLEVELAND — Social media has quieted down a bit Wednesday.

That is: I haven't seen any obscene computer generated pictures of bloated snow fall totals for this weekend's winter storm. (The storm is just under three days away. So, I guess, there's still time. LOL.)

With three days to go until the storm's expected arrival time, any SPECIFIC snow fall predictions are simply, what I call, "Wishcasting. "

Snowfall Ranges are OK at this stage. For example: 4-7 inches. That's a general idea of snowfall this weekend based on lots of uncertainty that still exists. But, even those numbers will be massaged and adjusted as the winter storm gets closer.

We'll be able to get more specific beginning Thursday evening.

Here's what we know as of Wednesday Evening:

1) Its Wednesday and Still NO STORM! That's right. The storm has still not formed. It does not exist on any weather map yet. There are pieces of energy that will join to become our weekend snow event. One piece is over the Pacific Northwest. The other piece is over Southwest Canada. These two pieces should begin to combine and form our storm just south of Denver, Colorado sometime late on Thursday. That's when we'll finally be able to "sample" the storm. That is: launch weather balloons near it, measure temperature, air pressure, humidity - all those good things that help us make a better forecast.

2) The Projected Storm Track is Shifting. As expected, our computer model guidance has shifted the storm's location. This is the normal. Model "wobbling" is expected as the computer grapples with a chaotic atmosphere. The "wobbles" should become smaller and smaller as Saturday approaches and a favored storm track is discovered. This also makes snowfall totals easier to predict as well.

3) Major Storm Predictors Don't Agree. That's right. Each computer model uses a slightly different algorithm to generate its guidance. And none of them agree on the weekend storm's path! The European Model, for instance, takes the center of the storm through Tennessee this weekend. This shifts the band of HEAVY SNOW south as well. According to the European Model, the heaviest snows (6-12") fall from Cincinnati east into Pittsburgh. That leaves northern Ohio with much less snow, perhaps only three to five inches across our area.
Contrast that with the GFS Model that currently takes the storm close to the Ohio River. The heaviest snows (6-10") fall right across northern Ohio. A direct hit for your snow shovel!

Which one is right?? That's why my hair goes gray..

The good news? On Thursday the storm will form! That's when we really get going! Expect Winter Storm Watches to be issued for parts of northern Ohio as early as Thursday afternoon.

As for running out for the bread and milk - not quite time for that just yet.

But, make sure you have enough gas to get to the store.

Stay tuned and stay connected! See you Thursday.