A strong winter storm system has moved into northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania through today and it will bring the first snowflakes to the Valley. The question that everyone is asking: How much snow will accumulate? Well, let’s dive into the specifics of the storm system.
First of all, the cold air will be a big story with this storm system. The low pressure system will bring high temperatures that will be close to 20 degrees below average throughout the first half of the work week and even bring the chance for a freeze throughout the week.
This storm system will also set the stage for the first wintry lake effect event of the season in our area. The cold temperatures combined with a southwest wind has setup a lake effect rain band along Lake Erie and some light precipitation is moving through the Valley.
There have already been some reports of sleet, graupel, and snowflakes but with air temperatures in the mid 40s nothing will accumulate yet.
Tonight, the wind aloft will begin to shift more to the west and colder air will bring the chance for the rain to change to snow across the area (particularly along and north of I-80).
The Storm Team 27 Future Tracker from 6 p.m. tonight to 10 a.m. Tuesday shows the lake effect rain/snow showers over our viewing area throughout the night.
However, the upper air flow will shift back to the southwesterly during the day on Tuesday which will limit chances of appreciable rain/snow shower activity to Mercer and Trumbull counties.
Then, on Tuesday afternoon, the upper air flow will bring additional chances for rain/snow shower activity tomorrow afternoon into the night and early morning hours of Wednesday. Tuesday afternoon into Tuesday night will be the best chance for the entire Valley to see snowflakes. The Future Tracker below shows rain/snow showers over the area from 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon to 6 a.m. on Wednesday morning.
The best chance for accumulating snowfall will occur in northern Mercer and Trumbull counties tomorrow afternoon and into Wednesday morning. There is the possibility for some light slushy accumulations elsewhere, but most accumulations will be confined to the snowbelt.
Below are the projected future snowfall totals through Tuesday at 8 p.m. Keep in mind that some of the snow that is projected to accumulate on this model will melt and that the actual snowfall accumulation might be much lower than this. However, some locations could certainly see some accumulating snowfall early this week.