WeatherSevere Weather Awareness


Here are the 4 types of winter storms that can dump snow on Ohio

Posted at 4:20 PM, Nov 03, 2023

While lake effect snow contributes some snow to our totals each year, a large portion of our snow comes from actual winter storms.

Winter Storms are low-pressure systems that move across our area and dump a little or a lot of snow on Northern Ohio. How much snow we get from these systems depends on their point of origin and the path they take.

Alberta Clippers are low-pressure systems that begin over Alberta, Canada. These fast-moving storms usually slide southeast across the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley. Alberta Clippers are moisture-starved and generally dump about 1 to 3 inches of snow across our area.

Colorado Lows form on the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in the Central Plains. These slide directly east, and if their path takes them across Southern Ohio, we generally see two to maybe as much as six inches of snow across the News 5 viewing area.

A Panhandle Hook is a low-pressure storm system that develops near the Oklahoma Panhandle. The storm intensifies quickly as it pulls in lots of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. If this low slides along the Ohio River and moves to near Pittsburgh, Northern Ohio is in the favored location for the heaviest snows. We can usually count on six to even 12 or 15 inches of snow from the Panhandle Hook. It can be our season's biggest snow-maker.

The final storm, and perhaps the most epic for Northern Ohio, is the Louisiana Low. This low pressure can intensify rapidly as it pumps in warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico. It then moves up the western edge of the Appalachian Mountains and into Western Pennsylvania. With this path, we can expect heavy snow across a large portion of Northern Ohio. Some of our heaviest snow events have come from Louisiana Lows to the tune of 8 to 16 or more inches. Luckily, Louisiana Lows are the rarest type of winter storm to affect our area.

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