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Here's an updated look at the winter storm headed our way

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Posted at 7:04 PM, Jan 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-16 09:51:15-05

CLEVELAND — Well, its all over social media now. A Monster Winter Storm is coming to your town this weekend!

My direct messages are filled with ominous computer generated pictures showing outrageous snowfall totals for northern Ohio this weekend. Twenty inches! Twenty-five inches!! Or, worse yet: I saw a post from someone (probably sitting in his mom's basement) that showed Cleveland and Akron buried under a mind-blowing, bone-crunching 34 inches of snow!!! A snowfall amount sure to keep you busy shoveling until at least mid-May.

The bottom line: "Its gonna be snowmageddon!!"

Or maybe not...

Here's what we know right now:

1) A winter storm is likely to affect northern Ohio Saturday through Sunday morning. We are headed into mid week and, yes, a big weekend winter storm is still on the table. But Saturday is still a half a week away. Many things can change in three days time.

2) The storm hasn't formed yet. The two computer models that we depend on the most, the GFS and the European Model both insist on this low pressure system hammering northern Ohio with its biggest snow event in at least five years. The timing would be Saturday afternoon, Saturday night and Sunday morning for the snow to fall. But, here's the problem: The storm does not yet exist. Its literally just a cartoon on a computer screen drawn by a computer program. We are confident the storm will form sometime on Thursday just east of the Rocky Mountains. Once the storm forms, we'll have a better idea where it's going.

3) Computer models change their minds. Between now and the storm's expected arrival time Saturday, expect even our best computer model guidance products to shift the path of the low pressure north or south or both. Any shift in the storm's path directly impacts how much snow you will get. For instance, if the low pressure travels north into Ohio, that will bring warmer air farther north with it. We would then have to introduce the threat for sleet and even rain across parts of the area. Rain and sleet drastically cut down snowfall amounts. If the storm center moves farther south, the heaviest snows go south too.

4) You can relax. Right now, we are emphasizing AWARENESS. It's a bit too soon for you to be canceling weekend plans or raiding the stores for toilet paper and bottled water. We've got some time until you need to do that. It is okay to be thinking about a "Plan B." What would you do if a storm did dump on you this weekend? How would your plans change?

Continue to stay connected with us and we will get you through this storm.