Toledo's first accumulating snow in more than 9 months is expected to start late Thursday, but whether it will be enough to stick around for a white Christmas remains to be seen.
What northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan appeared sure to get - starting before sunrise - is close to an inch of rain accompanied by gusty winds. A Winter Weather Advisory from the National Weather Service office in Cleveland forecast a change-over to snow in northwest Ohio after 7 p.m., with 2 to 4 inches accumulating by Friday afternoon.
That's far less than is expected farther to the northwest or in Snow Belt regions that are expected to get socked once the storm's cold front passes across Lake Michigan and, later, Lake Erie.
Will Kubina, a meteorologist at the Cleveland office, said Toledo's chances of a white Christmas appeared to be good, because cold air expected to move into the area behind the storm should keep melting to a minimum even if the sun comes out. There's also a chance of more snow on Christmas Eve into Christmas, he said.
AccuWeather, Inc., meanwhile, issued a "White Christmas" map that gave most of northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan a 25 to 50 percent chance of having at least one inch of snow on the ground on Tuesday.
Any accumulation at Toledo Express Airport would represent the first measurable snow at the city's official reporting station since March 5, ending the longest snowless streak in Toledo's recorded history.
Mr. Kubina said that's "pretty much a certainty," with the transition from rain to snow likely to occur shortly after sunset Thursday.
Anyone planning to go shopping or run other errands after work Thursday should be prepared for increasingly tricky driving conditions, the meteorologist said.
"The first snow of the season, people have issues with that anyway," he said.