In typical Columbus fashion, the exact line between heavy snow and ice is setting up very close to the metro region. It is important to remember that any minor shift in the track of the low could have huge implications with the forecast.
TIMING: Snow is expected to start Tuesday after 6 p.m. with the heaviest precipitation occurring later in the evening into the overnight period. Snow may mix with or change over to sleet and freezing rain after midnight. This will transition to light snow early Wednesday morning and taper off by noon.
ACCUMULATION: 5-8 inches of snow for the immediate Columbus metro area with up to 2 tenths of an inch of ice. 6-10 inches of snow north of Franklin County and 2-5 inches of snow with possibly over 1/3” of ice well south of Columbus. See the winter storm map for details.
IMPACT: Major impact to area roadways Tuesday night and much of Wednesday. Expect very hazardous travel conditions and numerous school closings for Wednesday. Additionally, areas that see severe icing could experience power outages due to downed trees.
DISCUSSION: Forecast models are keying in on a track for the area of low pressure Tuesday night, but exact details about the thermal characteristics of the atmosphere are being ironed out still. Right now, the examiner.com forecast is calling for heavy snow Tuesday evening which will change to a period of freezing rain after midnight.
There will be a very tight gradient in who sees exactly what type and how much of each precipitation type. Given the nature of this type of system, forecast changes are still very possible through the day on Tuesday. Regardless of whether Columbus sees all snow or a mix, a big impact to travel is likely. Also, areas that see over 1/3” of ice accretion should prepare for isolated power outages. This zone will be most likely along and southeast of I-71 running south of Columbus.
Another cold air mass will move in for the second half of the week. Lows in the single digits are likely Thursday and Friday mornings. Another storm system is on the horizon for this weekend and may bring snow or a mix to the region once again. Stay with examiner.com and Mike Groenke on twitter for the latest winter weather forecasts.
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