By Ron Rothhaas

Don’t Believe The Winter Storm Hype

Bryan Wood, a meteorologist/Storm Damage Analyst at Assurant, posted a series of tweets today regarding the hype surrounding last week’s winter storm. These are some very astute insights and worthy of your time to consider. Bryan’s Twitter feed can be found at @bryanwx.

The only point I might differ with is the ice. Last Friday’s storm was not destined to be a big ice producer on pavement because it was preceded by 2 days of near record warmth and pavement temperatures were too warm to support glaze from freezing rain. Water from heavy rain and runoff did later produce some black ice.

Here are Bryan’s observations from his “Tweet storm”:

  • Some thoughts & reflections on Friday’s & today’s snow events here regionally, but can be applicable anywhere. People will interpret any image you post on social media how they want. Don’t assume that by linking it to a video that they’ll watch it.
  • This week, an image showing two model outputs with either 2″ of snow or 23.1″ of snow. Snow lovers clung to that 23.1 inches of snow, despite historical odds being low…and this storm was clearly not going to be historical by any means. No context given, other than “watch us”.
  • This happened in Columbus, but spilled over into other markets like Cincinnati & Dayton because they also had “high amounts”. This caused a lot of questions & work for other meteorologists. We have employees in Columbus – I had over 40 people ask about this specific image.
  • The vast majority of them only saw the big numbers, did not watch the TV station or their videos. The only context they saw was 23.1 inches. They assumed it was a forecast because they don’t understand the nuances of predictive models.
  • Needless to say, they were almost unanimously upset. “they just want people to watch”, “hype merchants” were some of the phrases used. They watch you because you’re an expert. They want YOUR forecast. Most of these people I talked to said they won’t watch this station anymore.
  • The thing that was most upsetting to me is that I’ve always recommended this channel to friends, coworkers and even clients in Columbus. The exact reason why is that they don’t (didn’t?) try baiting tactics like this and just gave it straight to the viewer. I admired that.
  • While snow totals are important to communicate, I think we can overemphasize it in an overall context of a winter storm & its impacts. This storm had ice potential (thankfully not as bad as it could’ve been) and the timing of snow was big – evening rush hour.
  • I saw a ton of images about snow totals “through Saturday”. I saw very little images about the onset of snow, at which point, serious road issues would begin. This is a critical point to help people make decisions to stay in or venture out. Are we giving them the info they need?
  • Related to ice: We (wx community) forecasted up to 0.1″ of ice. Feedback I recieved: Many people interpreted this as “not bad”. When we get 0.1″ of rain, it’s not a big deal. In ice, it can crush travel. Is there a better way to communicate how dangerous 0.1″ of ice can be?
  • Summary: Don’t just study how your physical forecast compared to reality. Listen to your feedback. Don’t take it personally. Think about what people are saying. If they’re upset with you over “hype” (real or perceived) – you didn’t communicate & inform the way they needed.
  • I (professionally) took it on the chin from some higher ups last month for a winter forecast in Atlanta. It was deserved. I didn’t take it personally. I thought about how I could better inform both impacts & confidence. Be open, be thoughtful, Improve.
  • Oh, and if you rip all the NWS offices in/around your TV market for “being too low” with snow total forecasts and go way too high with your forecast, the storm didn’t underachieve, your forecast did.

Note: The Arbor Doctor Weather Blog will always strive to provide sound information, not hype, and sort through it all for you!

 

Can Spring Be Far Behind?

It’s been a really cold winter. However, Silver Mapledespite that, we had a couple really warm days last week. Because of that, we have already accumulated 7-9 growing degree days in Cincinnati. Silver maple comes into bloom at 34 degree days. This week is the coldest week of the winter. After this, we begin to slowly warm toward the first day of meteorological spring. We are already 7-9 growing degree days closer!

The GDD on 1/14 in previous years was:

    • 2017: 13
    • 2016: 2
    • 2015: 5
    • 2014: 2
    • 2013: 16
    • 2012: 8

Unlike the past few years, this year has been fairly consistently cold. High temperatures have been below freezing on 8 of 14 days. Lows have hit 0 or below 5 times, bottoming out at -7F. At least 1 inch of snow has been on the ground every day but 3 since Christmas Eve.

What are Growing Degree Days? Click here for more information>>>

Ohio State Phenology Calendar>>>

Winter Weather Affecting a Wide Area This Week

Travel will be difficult Monday over a very large area (winter weather advisories in dark blue) due to a weather system in the midwest bringing in snow and a reinforcing arctic blast (wind chill warnings and advisories in lighter blue). Difficult winter weather is also expected to develop in Texas Monday evening into Tuesday night. More cold will move into parts of the Florida peninsula as well.

Winter Weather Advisory More Snow, then cold, then warm, then…

Climatologically, this is the coldest week of the year in Cincinnati. The mid-point of meteorological winter. Bitter cold arctic air will follow the snow for several days, followed by much warmer air next weekend into the following week.

OHZ077-151000-
Hamilton-
Including the city of Cincinnati
322 PM EST Sun Jan 14 2018

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 1 AM TO 7 PM EST
MONDAY…

.TONIGHT…Partly cloudy this evening, then cloudy with snow
likely after midnight. Snow accumulation less than an inch. Lows
10 to 15. Southeast winds around 5 mph. Chance of snow
70 percent.
.MARTIN LUTHER KING JR DAY…Snow. Total snow accumulation of
1 to 3 inches. Highs around 30. South winds 5 to 10 mph with
gusts up to 25 mph. Chance of snow 80 percent.
.MONDAY NIGHT…Mostly cloudy with a chance of snow in the
evening, then partly cloudy after midnight. Lows 5 to 10 above.
West winds around 10 mph. Chance of snow 50 percent. Wind chill
values as low as 4 below.
.TUESDAY…Partly cloudy. Colder with highs 10 to 15. West winds
5 to 10 mph. Wind chill values as low as 8 below in the morning.
.TUESDAY NIGHT…Mostly cloudy with scattered flurries. Cold with
lows 0 to 5 above. West winds around 5 mph.
.WEDNESDAY…Mostly cloudy with scattered flurries in the
morning, then partly cloudy in the afternoon. Cold with highs
around 20.
.WEDNESDAY NIGHT…Partly cloudy in the evening, then clearing.
Lows around 10 above.
.THURSDAY…Mostly sunny. Highs in the upper 20s.
.THURSDAY NIGHT…Mostly clear. Lows 15 to 20.
.FRIDAY…Mostly sunny in the morning, then becoming partly
cloudy. Highs in the upper 30s.
.FRIDAY NIGHT…Partly cloudy. Warmer with lows around 30.
.SATURDAY…Mostly cloudy. Highs in the upper 40s.
.SATURDAY NIGHT…Mostly cloudy. A chance of showers after
midnight. Mild. Lows in the lower 40s. Chance of rain 40 percent.
.SUNDAY…Mostly cloudy with a 50 percent chance of showers.
Mild. Highs in the lower 50s.

8 to 14 Day Outlook - Precipitation Probability8 to 14 Day Outlook - Temperature Probability

 

 

 

More Snow Monday, Then Biting cold Followed By A Big Warm Up Next Weekend Into The Following Week

But It Will Be Wet With The Warm UpNo automatic alt text available.

This snowfall potential map from NWS Louisville so Cincinnati is at the top of the map.

For East Central Indiana, Southeast Indiana, Northern Kentucky, Central Ohio, Southwest Ohio and West Central Ohio.

Snow is expected to move through the region Monday into Monday night in association with a clipper system. Snow accumulations of 1 to 2 inches with local higher amounts will be possible.

Wind chill values between 5 below zero and 15 below zero will be possible Monday night into Tuesday.

Wind chill values between 5 below zero and 10 below zero will be possible Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, and then again Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

Temperature

6 to 10 Day Outlook - Temperature Probability

Precipitation

6 to 10 Day Outlook - Precipitation Probability

 

 

Soil Moisture Condition Monitoring Report

 Condition Monitoring Report Edit
Station Number: OH-HM-24
Station Name: Cheviot 3.4 W
Report Date: 1/12/2018
Submitted: 1/12/2018 9:33 PM
Scale Bar: Moderately Wet
Description:
Ground is wet. Soil is saturated with water. Standing water present in low areas and ditches. Water bodies rising.
Categories:
General Awareness
Plants & Wildlife

What is the Condition Monitoring Report? Click here for more information: https://www.cocorahs.org/Content.aspx?page=cm-scalebar

Winter Weather Update

< Previous MD
MD 23 graphic
   Mesoscale Discussion 0023
   NWS Storm Prediction Center Norman OK
   0158 PM CST Fri Jan 12 2018

   Areas affected...Swrn through nern Ohio...nwrn Pennsylvania...wrn
   New York

   Concerning...Heavy snow 

   Valid 121958Z - 130000Z

   SUMMARY...Moderate to heavy snow at up to 1 inch per hour rates may
   develop across areas near and southeast of Lake Erie through the 4-8
   PM EST time frame.

   DISCUSSION...As large-scale upper troughing continues to dig into
   portions of the upper Great Lakes/Midwest region, and another trough
   pivots across and northeast of the Tennessee Valley, models indicate
   an area of strengthening lower/mid tropospheric frontogenetic
   forcing across parts of the lower Ohio Valley/Great Lakes region by
   early evening.  Associated lift, including through the favorable
   dendritic growth zone, appears likely to be accompanied by a band of
   increasing precipitation rates across roughly the Interstate-71
   corridor of Ohio, into the Cleveland metro area, and east
   northeastward through Buffalo and surrounding areas of western New
   York state.  Coinciding with further low/mid-level cooling to
   sub-freezing temperatures, as a sharp cold front steadily advances
   southeastward, this is expected to become mostly moderate to heavy
   snow.  This may include at least a couple hour period at rates near
   or in excess of 1 inch per hour, before heavier snow begins to
   develop/shift off to the east northeast of the lower Great Lakes
   region this evening.

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 10 AM THIS MORNING TO 10 AM EST SATURDAY…

Or Maybe It’s A Winter Storm…

This is the type of thing which drives me nuts. No wonder the public gets impatient with weather forecasts. The National Weather Service has very confusing and contradictory headlines out right now on their website at the same time. Furthermore, just try to make sense of the warnings and advisories per the criteria at the bottom of this article.

Here’s the bottom line. Driving will get really bad, especially later this afternoon and tonight, with snow and ice covered roads and blowing snow.

How much is expected? Take your pick:

NWS Wilmington Winter Weather Advisory wording for Hamilton County:

* WHAT…Mixed precipitation expected. Plan on difficult travel
conditions. Total snow accumulations of 2 to 4 inches and ice
accumulations of up to one tenth of an inch are expected.

NWS Wilmington Text Forecast wording for Hamilton County:

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 10 AM THIS MORNING TO
10 AM EST SATURDAY…

.TODAY…Rain, freezing rain and sleet this morning, then sleet,
freezing rain, rain and snow this afternoon. Snow and sleet
accumulation an inch or less. Ice accumulation of up to a tenth
of an inch. Colder with highs in the lower 40s. North winds 15 to
20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph. Chance of precipitation
100 percent.
.TONIGHT…Snow, mainly in the evening. Total snow accumulation
of 3 to 5 inches. A trace of ice accumulation. Much colder with
lows around 15. North winds 15 to 20 mph with gusts up to 35 mph.
Chance of snow 100 percent.

If you don’t like those choices, here’s a third one from the same source:

Either way, expect it to get bad. That’s the take home message.

Frigid air for the next week with more accumulating snow likely Monday.

 

URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Wilmington OH
403 AM EST Fri Jan 12 2018

INZ074-075-080-KYZ089>096-OHZ045-046-052>056-061-062-070-071-077-
078-121715-
/O.CON.KILN.WW.Y.0003.180112T1500Z-180113T1500Z/
Dearborn-Ohio-Switzerland-Carroll-Gallatin-Boone-Kenton-Campbell-
Owen-Grant-Pendleton-Union OH-Delaware-Champaign-Clark-Madison-
Franklin OH-Licking-Montgomery-Greene-Butler-Warren-Hamilton-
Clermont-
Including the cities of Lawrenceburg, Aurora, Rising Sun, Vevay,
Carrollton, Warsaw, Florence, Burlington, Oakbrook, Covington,
Erlanger, Independence, Newport, Alexandria, Owenton,
Williamstown, Crittenden, Dry Ridge, Falmouth, Butler,
Marysville, Delaware, Urbana, Springfield, London,
West Jefferson, Plain City, Columbus, Newark, Dayton, Kettering,
Beavercreek, Fairborn, Xenia, Hamilton, Middletown, Fairfield,
Oxford, Mason, Lebanon, Springboro, Cincinnati, and Milford
403 AM EST Fri Jan 12 2018

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 10 AM THIS
MORNING TO 10 AM EST SATURDAY…

* WHAT…Mixed precipitation expected. Plan on difficult travel
conditions. Total snow accumulations of 2 to 4 inches and ice
accumulations of up to one tenth of an inch are expected.

* WHERE…Portions of Southeast Indiana, Northern Kentucky and
Central, Southwest, and West Central Ohio.

* WHEN…From 10 AM this morning to 10 AM EST Saturday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Be prepared for reduced visibilities at
times.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A Winter Weather Advisory means that periods of snow, sleet or
freezing rain will cause travel difficulties. Be prepared for
slippery roads and limited visibilities, and use caution while
driving. Additional information can be found at
www.weather.gov/iln as well as on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

 

A winter weather advisory has been issued instead of a winter storm warning because of the peculiar and confusing nature of National Weather Service Wilmington’s advisory criteria. Even though the greatest number of accidents occur at lower accumulation amounts, lesser advisories are applied to lower amounts than higher amounts. Advisories and warnings are not generally tied to pavement temperatures and seasonal differences. A 6-inch snow in April which does not stick on pavement would have a warning while a 3-inch snow in January, which greatly affects roads, gets an advisory. Additionally, NWS Wilmington has divided their forecast area so different zones have different advisory criteria. Don’t try to figure it out. You’ll get a headache.

Image result for Wilmington OH NWS winter weather advisory criteria

watch2

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 10 AM FRIDAY TO 10 AM EST SATURDAY…

[3:51 PM] A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for the upcoming winter system expected to move through late tonight and continue through the early hours of Saturday. Be prepared for winter driving conditions if you are planning travel Friday into Friday night.

A winter weather advisory has been issued for Cincinnati. Total snow accumulations of 2 to 4 inches and ice accumulations of up to one tenth of an inch are expected. With warm ground temperatures, ice should not be a major problem on the ground. Most ice build up would be on trees and elevated surfaces such as bridges.

Trees do not have serious problems until 1/2 inch or ice accumulates and this storm should be much less. An extended period of sleet would increase icing issues but that does not currently appear to be a big concern. Storm total snow accumulations have not really changed but icing potential has lessened some.

 

This storm came together a bit differently than earlier expected. It will still have a significant impact but much less than earlier expected. As usual, many people jumped on earlier computer models of 20 inches of snow. One internet weather service said this would be the “storm of a lifetime”. It won’t be. It will make a mess of evening rush hour in Cincinnati. Conditions may start deteriorating near or shortly after noon.

Temperatures will be frigid over the weekend with some wind on the back side of the storm Saturday morning. Another system could give us an inch or two of snow Monday with more arctic cold to follow. A significant warm-up is expected in about a week or so.

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Wilmington OH
323 PM EST Thu Jan 11 2018

Dearborn-Ohio-Switzerland-Carroll-Gallatin-Boone-Kenton-Campbell-
Owen-Grant-Pendleton-Bracken-Union OH-Delaware-Champaign-Clark-
Madison-Franklin OH-Licking-Montgomery-Greene-Fayette OH-Butler-
Warren-Clinton-Hamilton-Clermont-Brown-Highland-
Including the cities of Lawrenceburg, Aurora, Rising Sun, Vevay,
Carrollton, Warsaw, Florence, Burlington, Oakbrook, Covington,
Erlanger, Independence, Newport, Alexandria, Owenton,
Williamstown, Crittenden, Dry Ridge, Falmouth, Butler, Augusta,
Brooksville, Marysville, Delaware, Urbana, Springfield, London,
West Jefferson, Plain City, Columbus, Newark, Dayton, Kettering,
Beavercreek, Fairborn, Xenia, Washington Court House, Hamilton,
Middletown, Fairfield, Oxford, Mason, Lebanon, Springboro,
Wilmington, Blanchester, Cincinnati, Milford, Georgetown,
Mount Orab, Hillsboro, and Greenfield
323 PM EST Thu Jan 11 2018

...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 10 AM FRIDAY TO 10 AM
EST SATURDAY...

* WHAT...Mixed precipitation expected. Plan on difficult travel
  conditions. Total snow accumulations of 2 to 4 inches and ice
  accumulations of up to one tenth of an inch are expected.

* WHERE...Portions of Southeast Indiana, Northern Kentucky and
  Central, Southwest and West Central Ohio.

* WHEN...From 10 AM Friday to 10 AM EST Saturday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Be prepared for reduced visibilities at
  times.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A Winter Weather Advisory means that periods of snow, sleet or
freezing rain will cause travel difficulties. Be prepared for
slippery roads and limited visibilities, and use caution while
driving. Additional information can be found at
www.weather.gov/iln as well as on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

A winter weather advisory has been issued instead of a winter storm warning because of the peculiar and confusing nature of National Weather Service Wilmington’s advisory criteria. Even though the greatest number of accidents occur at lower accumulation amounts, lesser advisories are applied to lower amounts than higher amounts. Advisories and warnings are not generally tied to pavement temperatures and seasonal differences. A 6-inch snow in April which does not stick on pavement would have a warning while a 3-inch snow in January, which greatly affects roads, gets an advisory. Additionally, NWS Wilmington has divided their forecast area so different zones have different advisory criteria. Don’t try to figure it out. You’ll get a headache.

Image result for Wilmington OH NWS winter weather advisory criteria

watch2

 

 


	

Winter Storm Watch in effect from January 12, 07:00 AM EST until January 13, 10:00 AM EST

Winter Storm Watch

While total snow accumulations will be marginal for Winter Storm criteria, a lot of questions remain with this storm. Significant freezing rain and/or sleet may fall during transition from rain to snow. More freezing rain and sleet would cut down on snow totals. It is important to remember for those doing snow removal that sleet is very problematic.

You have heard that one inch of rain equals 10 inches of snow, a ratio which is often much higher. I know from past experience that one inch of sleet equals 10-20 inches of snow in weight because of its high density and lack of air pockets. If we get extended freezing rain we could have ice and power line problems. Extended sleet would cut down on snow totals but would be as problematic and as heavy to remove as heavy snow, 10-20 inches of snow weight if we get one inch of sleet. So, be prepared for significant driving and snow removal issues. Be careful with the ratios I discussed. I am not predicting 10-20 inches of snow (forecast is 2-4 inches), just the weight of such if we get an inch of sleet. 

Oh, and by the way, another couple inches of snow is possible Monday. Too early for details but it will be frigid for a few days before January thaw part II arrives.

–Ron Rothhaas

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Wilmington OH
411 AM EST Thu Jan 11 2018

Wayne-Fayette IN-Union IN-Franklin IN-Ripley-Dearborn-Ohio-
Switzerland-Carroll-Gallatin-Boone-Kenton-Campbell-Owen-Grant-
Pendleton-Bracken-Robertson-Mason-Lewis-Union OH-Delaware-Miami-
Champaign-Clark-Madison-Franklin OH-Licking-Preble-Montgomery-
Greene-Fayette OH-Pickaway-Fairfield-Butler-Warren-Clinton-Ross-
Hocking-Hamilton-Clermont-Brown-Highland-Adams-Pike-Scioto-
Including the cities of Richmond, Connersville, Liberty,
West College Corner, Brookville, Batesville, Milan, Versailles,
Lawrenceburg, Aurora, Rising Sun, Vevay, Carrollton, Warsaw,
Florence, Burlington, Oakbrook, Covington, Erlanger,
Independence, Newport, Alexandria, Owenton, Williamstown,
Crittenden, Dry Ridge, Falmouth, Butler, Augusta, Brooksville,
Mount Olivet, Maysville, Vanceburg, Tollesboro, Marysville,
Delaware, Troy, Piqua, Tipp City, Urbana, Springfield, London,
West Jefferson, Plain City, Columbus, Newark, Eaton, Camden,
Dayton, Kettering, Beavercreek, Fairborn, Xenia,
Washington Court House, Circleville, Lancaster, Pickerington,
Hamilton, Middletown, Fairfield, Oxford, Mason, Lebanon,
Springboro, Wilmington, Blanchester, Chillicothe, Logan,
Cincinnati, Milford, Georgetown, Mount Orab, Hillsboro,
Greenfield, West Union, Peebles, Waverly, Piketon, Portsmouth,
and Wheelersburg
411 AM EST Thu Jan 11 2018

...WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM FRIDAY MORNING THROUGH
SATURDAY MORNING...

* WHAT...Heavy mixed precipitation possible. Plan on difficult
  travel conditions, including through the Friday afternoon
  commute. Total snow accumulations of 2 to 4 inches and locally
  higher amounts. In addition ice accumulations of up to one
  tenth of an inch are possible.

* WHERE...Portions of East Central and Southeast Indiana,
  Northeast and Northern Kentucky and Central, Southwest and
  West Central Ohio.

* WHEN...From Friday morning through Saturday morning.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Significant reductions in visibility are
  possible.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A Winter Storm Watch means there is potential for significant
snow, sleet or ice accumulations that may impact travel. Continue
to monitor the latest forecasts.

Day 7 image not available

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday Evening Winter Storm Update

[7:54 PM] On Friday, we expect rain to change to a mix of freezing rain and sleet, before changing to snow. This changeover will happen at different times depending on your location. Everyone should be prepared for ice and snow accumulations Friday into Friday night.

[7:55 PM] Depending on the actual track and strength of the system, some areas will see heavier accumulations than others by Friday night. Stay tuned for further updates.

——————————————

This Hazardous Weather Outlook is for East Central Indiana,
Southeast Indiana, Northern Kentucky, Central Ohio, Southwest Ohio
and West Central Ohio.

.A low pressure system is forecast to move northeast from the
Tennessee Valley to the eastern Great Lakes Friday into Saturday.
Rain is expected to transition over to a wintry mix Friday afternoon
and then gradually change over to snow Friday night. Accumulating
snow will be likely along with some ice accumulation. Any slight
track differences with this system will have large implications on
the potential weather types and impacts. This weather event will have
to be watched carefully as the week progresses.

Point Forecast:
Mack North OH
39.16°N 84.69°W (Elev. 801 ft)
Friday
Rain before 4pm, then freezing rain and sleet. High near 39. North wind 11 to 16 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New ice accumulation of less than a 0.1 of an inch possible. New sleet accumulation of less than one inch possible.
Friday Night
Snow, mainly before 4am. Low around 19. North wind 13 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.
Saturday
A chance of snow, mainly before noon. Cloudy, with a high near 24. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Saturday Night
Mostly cloudy, with a low around 9.
Sunday
Mostly sunny, with a high near 23.

Day 7 image not available

Check back to the Arbor Doctor Weather Blog for future updates.