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Winter storm will bring heavy snow across Northeast Ohio

Posted at 8:56 PM, Jan 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-17 21:49:10-05

CLEVELAND — It's finally here! After many days of computer prophecy, we now have a winter storm to track. Earlier Thursday, a small area of low pressure developed over the northern Rocky Mountains. This is what we've been waiting for! Its the humble beginning of our weekend winter storm.

Before today, every snowfall map posted on social media by amateur weather-ites has been literal fantasy. Monday's computer-generated viral prediction of 34 inches of snow in Cleveland sent shockwaves through the interwebs. But, alas... that, too, was a hoax. Either that or something dreamed up by Sandra Bullock in a blindfold. Posting a computer model guidance snowfall prediction, five days before the storm, without the proper poop emoji attached, is always a meteorological No-No.

Watch my Facebook Live below discussing the winter storm.

The storm is finally, physically, on our weather map. Now we can look at it. Measure it. Stick 12 weather balloons down its low-level jet if we want to. All this info can now be fed into the computer models and the resulting guidance suddenly becomes better...more precise...more real.

We can now fine-tune our forecast a bit more:

1) Winter Storm WATCHES have been issued for ALL of northern Ohio for Saturday into Sunday. A WATCH doesn't mean you get blasted, that's what WARNINGS are for. A WATCH means it's time to prepare.

2) Heavy snow is likely across parts of northern Ohio beginning Saturday morning. Peak snow intensity is likely to be from mid-afternoon Saturday through 2 or 3 am Sunday morning.

3) Snow will taper off quickly Sunday morning.

4) Snow totals of 4 to 8 inches will be common, with a few spots from near Canton to Youngstown seeing 8 to 12 inches by sunrise Sunday.

5) Winds make it worse! Wind gusts with the storm Saturday through Sunday will gust above 30 mph. This will result in low visibility on the roadways and lots of blowing and drifting snow! Wind chills will range between -10 and -25 Saturday night through Sunday.

6) Winds behind the storm will shift around to the north Sunday afternoon. Lake effect snow could give you a few more inches of snow Sunday night and Monday morning across the favored snow belt areas of northern Ohio.

7) Still time for the storm track to shift. Even the slightest shift in the storm's path will change where the heavy snow will fall. There is also the potential for some sleet and freezing rain to mix in south of U.S. Route 30 Saturday afternoon. Any rain or sleet will cut down on snow totals in the end.

8) Time to make sure the car is gassed up and you have enough wine and cheese (and bread and milk) to get you through Saturday and Sunday. Stay connected with us for the latest.