Toledoans bracing for next wallop of big snow

Weekend storm likely to follow deep freeze

Forecasters warn area residents to keep the snow blowers and shovels ready because waves of snow are likely this weekend.
Forecasters warn area residents to keep the snow blowers and shovels ready because waves of snow are likely this weekend.

While many in the Toledo area are plenty ready for the snow jets to shut down now that Toledo’s snowiest-winter record has been broken, Mother Nature appears to have other plans.

Exactly how much snow will fall during the upcoming weekend remains a subject of forecaster debate, but Jay Berschback, chief meteorologist at WTVG-TV, Channel 13 said there’s “a very good chance” it will be enough to require shoveling and plowing.

That could mean that the 73.1-inch snowfall record from the winter of 1977-78 that was passed Tuesday at Toledo Express Airport, when Toledo reached 73.5 inches for this season, may be more than just broken — it will be shattered.

AccuWeather Inc., a private forecasting service based in State College, Pa., went a bit further out on the forecasting limb Wednesday, calling for between 6 and 10 inches of snow in the Toledo area between Saturday night and Sunday night.

Mr. Berschback declined to be so specific, but predicted “several waves” of snow during the weekend, starting with some very light snow Friday night into early Saturday followed by a “main wave” during the weekend’s second half.

“The Monday commute is going to be the biggest problem,” he said. “It could be yet another slow, rough morning drive come Monday.”

But first, northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan have another night of bitter cold to cope with. Forecasters agreed Wednesday that the -2 record low for Feb. 28, set in 1994, is virtually certain to be broken Friday. The only question is by how much.

AccuWeather and the National Weather Service both call for a -9 low, but Mr. Berschback said double digits are quite likely.

“The center of high pressure will be right over Toledo,” he said. “We will have ideal conditions to get very cold overnight.”

Already this winter, Toledo has had 18 days with temperatures below zero. After a high today only in the low teens, the mercury could fall below zero before midnight, then stay there for much of the first half of Friday, which would bring that count to 20.

Toledo’s record for days with below-zero temperatures is 23, set during the winter of 1976-77, which included the coldest month in Toledo’s recorded history (January, 1977) and the fourth-coldest December.

Mr. Berschback said it’s possible Toledo will have more subzero days next week.

Last month tied for the sixth-coldest January in Toledo and was the coldest month here in 32 years. Through Wednesday, this month hasn’t made the Top 10 for coldest Februaries, but it’s very close and could be pushed onto that list by today’s and Friday’s chill.

February already is on the Top 10 list for snowfalls; as of Wednesday, the 21.6 inches that had fallen at the airport was seventh-most for this month in Toledo.

Of course, one snowfall record already has been shattered in Toledo this winter, that for the month of January. The 40.2 inches that fell at the airport last month smashed the old mark of 30.8 inches, also set in 1977-78.

More than half of last month’s snow fell in two big dollops: 9.4 inches on Jan. 1-2, and 13 inches on Jan. 5-6. The season’s first big snow, 7.4 inches on Dec. 14, accounted for the bulk of December’s 11.2 inches.

November kicked off the winter with a half-inch on Veterans Day, but for now, at least, that half-inch is the difference between first place and second in the record books.

Contact David Patch at: or 419-724-6094.