Strong Clipper for Great Lakes Sunday

This is a northern Ohio-centric post. I’ll probably have a post discussing potential East Coast redevelopment on Monday later.

There is growing potential for a moderate amount of snow Sunday afternoon through Monday morning across northern Ohio…especially closer to Lake Erie and also on the east side. A mix with rain and some drier air could limit the amount of snow farther south and west if the low tracks where it is currently expected to.

A potent “Alberta clipper” type storm system is expected to track across central or northern Ohio Sunday night. Most of these clippers tend to bring a 1-3″ or 2-4″ type snowfall. However, this clipper is expected to be considerably stronger than a typical clipper, which opens the door to heavier snowfall amounts.

As it looks right now, snow would spread in Sunday afternoon ahead of the low pressure, and continue through Sunday evening and into Sunday night as the low pressure tracks across Ohio. The snow would quickly become light by Monday morning. There could be a few hours of moderate to heavy snow north of the low pressure track if the storm is as strong as currently expected…which could allow for a corridor of several inches of snow to fall.

GFS sfc

The big question for northern Ohio, especially the farther south you go, will be whether or not a mix with rain may occur, and also if a “dry slot” may sneak in and keep the heaviest snows slightly farther north. As it looks now, our most aggressive model in bringing the warm air northward briefly allows temperatures to climb a bit above freezing as far north as Cleveland during the snow…but keeps the 35F degree air closer to Mansfield and Canton (first image). Our other models are colder. This does suggest there could be some rain thrown in possibly as far north as Norwalk…Akron and Youngstown with all snow to the north.


As far as a dry slot, with the “mid-level” low pressure center tracking over Michigan and into Ontario, a dry slot would typically be a concern…however, the bulk of the snow actually looks to fall ahead of the mid-level low Sunday evening, which would keep the dry slot away from northern Ohio until after the bulk of the snow already falls. This all suggests locations close to Lake Erie and also on the east side getting into some of the better snows late Sunday into Sunday night…with less farther south and west due to a mix with rain and a dry slot. Our models currently show decent mid to upper level lift over northern Ohio Sunday evening as the low approaches (second image). Note how decent upward motion is occurring where it should be snowing in the image on the left over northern Ohio, with strong “positive vorticity advection” at another level of the atmosphere, which is also a source of lift and could cause some heavier snowfall rates.

clipper comparison

What makes this interesting are some striking similarities between this clipper and the “Super Clipper” from January 23, 2005 (third image)…the Super Clipper dropped 6-12″ of snow on northern Ohio and over a foot of snow in Detroit. This system looks ever so slightly weaker, and has a weaker temperature gradient across it, which will probably make the foot plus amounts nearly impossible to see…however, a *narrow* corridor of 6″+ snows may take shape from parts of southern lower Michigan east across Lake Erie, possibly clipping far northern Ohio. The exact track of the low will determine where the heaviest swath of snow falls…although right now, our models are trying to suggest that swath could be extremely close to or over northern Ohio (forth image).

GFS Euro

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