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Brace yourself: Heavy snow, high winds approaching Northeast Ohio with Winter Storm Harper

January 18, 2019

Brace yourself: Heavy snow, high winds approaching Northeast Ohio with Winter Storm Harper

CLEVELAND, Ohio – It’s the storm everyone is talking about. After a relatively mild winter, Northeast Ohio is on the brink of a harsh reminder of the punch a Midwest winter can bring with the strongest storm in a decade inching closer to us.

That looming weather system is Winter Storm Harper and it’s caused area residents to stock up on supplies, change weekend plans and get snow boots and shovels in place for what is expected to be the worst widespread snow storm in years. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning Friday afternoon.

“We’re going to see a significant snow storm,” said Mike Griffin, lead forecaster of the National Weather Service in Cleveland. “While amounts are a little bit less than what we saw yesterday, for Cuyahoga County in general we’re still looking at 7 to 9 inches.”

And that’s just from the winter storm making its way across the United States. Some parts of Northeast Ohio could see additional lake effect snow as early as Sunday that will make those totals even higher.

“It’s going to be impactful,” Griffin said. “This is going to be blowing around. It’s going to be a nasty day tomorrow.”

Looking at Northeast Ohio as a whole, snow will start Friday evening around midnight and people can expect to see a coating to an inch of snow when they wake up Saturday morning, according to Griffin.

The heaviest part of the storm will hit between noon on Saturday through midnight. “That’s the 12-hour window when it’s not going to be safe to be traveling or running out to the store,” Griffin said.

Everything will start to wind down Sunday morning with only light snow showers. However the cold air will move in with highs in the low teens during the day and overnight lows in the single digits with wind chills below zero.

That’s when the lake effect snow could arrive, hitting smaller areas in Northeast Ohio on Sunday and Monday.

“There will be a small break where it tapers off,” Griffin said. “It’s a little harder to forecast where the narrow lake effect bands will pop up. If you’re under the bands you’re going to pick up quite a bit more snow.”

Here’s what to expect in three key parts of Northeast Ohio, according to the National Weather Service:

Cleveland

Expect Friday afternoon’s temperatures to remain in the mid 30s with 5 to 10 mph winds out of the Northwest.

Overnight Friday there will be a 50 percent chance of snow with less than a half an inch of accumulation, the majority of it coming down after 3 a.m. Saturday. Winds will be low, blowing between 7 to 9 mph out of the Northeast.

Saturday continues to be the main causes for concern with forecasts calling for a 100 percent chance of precipitation accumulating 3 to 5 inches of new snow. Temperatures will top off at 29 degrees and winds will continue to blow out of the Northeast with some gusts blowing as high as 30 mph.

Through Saturday night expect most of the snow to fall before 3 a.m. Sunday, accumulating 1 to 3 inches. However, winds will pick up, with potential gusts of 41 mph.

Sunday will continue with high winds, but the chance of precipitation falls to 60 percent with new accumulation estimated to be 1 to 3 inches.

Akron

Friday’s temperatures will stay steady in the mid 30s with light winds expected around 7 mph.

In the evening, snow will fall mostly after 5 a.m. Saturday, accumulating less than a half of an inch. Winds will remain low, at 5 to 7 mph out of the Northeast.

Snow will begin to fall more heavily after 8 a.m. on Saturday, accumulating 3 to 5 inches with a 100 percent chance of precipitation. Temperatures will top off near 30 degrees. Winds will pick up as well, estimating to blow 9 to 15 mph out of the Northeast.

Saturday evening temperatures will drop to around 16 degrees. A 100 percent chance of precipitation continues and snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches is expected. Winds out of the north will blow 16 to 18 mph.

Sunday will bring less than an inch of snow, with it falling most likely before 9 a.m. and again after noon. Winds will pick up, however, with gusts as high as 30 mph.

Ashtabula/primary snow belt

Friday afternoon expect temperatures in the mid 30s with Northwest winds around 8 mph.

Overnight Friday snow will fall primarily after 3 a.m. with a 40 percent chance of precipitation. Winds out of the north blowing 5 to 8 mph can be expected after midnight. Chance of precipitation will be 40 percent with less than half of an inch of accumulation.

Saturday will bring a 100 percent chance of precipitation with new snow accumulation expected to be 3 to 5 inches and temperatures near 27 degrees. Winds will pick up slightly, blowing out of the Northeast at 9 to 15 mph.

Saturday night snow will fall primarily before 5 a.m., however the chance of precipitation will remain at 100 percent with new snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches.

On Sunday precipitation chances drop to 50 percent with less than an inch of new snow. Temperatures will drop, however, with a high near 15 degrees. Expect most of the snow before 9 a.m.

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