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Major late winter storm looming?

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Most folks would probably agree that it is about time for Mother Nature to call it quits on winter. Unfortunately, she appears to be more inclined to remind us that it is STILL winter for another few more weeks. The potential for our biggest winter storm yet is increasing as we get closer to this weekend.

The wind is creating quite a bite in the air this afternoon. Gusts have been exceeding 30 mph putting the wind chill down well below 10 degrees. Expect winds to drop off this evening, but the temperature to drop as well. Under clear skies and calming winds, lows could make a run for near 0 degrees! Be sure to bundle up tight on Friday morning. The only consolation is that there will be little to no wind chill by then.

Sunny skies will be the prevailing weather on Friday with highs only topping out again in the 20s. Moisture will increase leading to grey skies developing by the evening hours. Those clouds will keep us warmer for Saturday morning as lows remain in the 20s. A brief teasing warm up will occur on Saturday as highs hit the middle 40s! A passing light rain or snow shower will be possible through the morning and afternoon. No significant bad weather is expected.

All eyes then turn to the second half of the weekend which is looking like no easy walk in the park. Nearly all computer models are pointing towards a massive winter storm from the lower Ohio Valley all the way up into the Northeast on Sunday into Monday. There are still some factors that could make the difference between a moderate or major snowfall in Columbus, but do note that some amount of accumulating snow is likely on Sunday and Sunday night.

It appears as though this system will be a two part storm with the first wave coming Sunday afternoon and a second wave later Sunday night. The first wave is the highest confidence one right now that should bring several inches to the I-70 corridor. There is still a slight chance that some snow may mix with sleet which could cut down totals, but that is beginning to look less likely.

The biggest uncertainty right now is where that second wave of snow hits the hardest. Some forecast models are suggesting Columbus while others have it going just a hair south. At 3-4 days out still, we are certainly within the standard margin of error. This means that it could be a moderate 4-8 inch storm or it could turn into an even bigger snow event. Details will need to be hammered out over the next couple days, but just know that travel is likely to become dangerous going into Sunday and Monday. Stay with examiner.com for the latest details.

Stay connected with Columbus weather by following Mike Groenke on twitter. For the latest Columbus weather updates, click "subscribe" at the top of this page to receive emails when a new story is posted OR bookmark www.examiner.com/weather-in-columbus

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