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Monday, December 22, 2014
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Published: Saturday, 3/1/2014 - Updated: 9 months ago

ENDLESS WINTER WEATHER

Region braces for next snowy onslaught

Heaviest storms likely to turn south

BY DAVID PATCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER
April Sumner, originally from Florida, bundles-up so much that only her nose and eyes are visible under her coat and hat during record cold temperatures on Feb. 12. April Sumner, originally from Florida, bundles-up so much that only her nose and eyes are visible under her coat and hat during record cold temperatures on Feb. 12.
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Hucky Too and Punxsutawney Phil had it right, while Buckeye Chuck’s prediction was probably a case of wishful thinking.

The Toledo area’s resident groundhog weather forecaster and the best-known meteorological rodent from Pennsylvania agreed back on Feb. 2 that winter had six more weeks to go.

They were right — as March arrives, winter is showing no sign of letting up.

Forecasters said Friday night the heaviest snow from two storms approaching the Ohio Valley and lower Great Lakes was likely to be well south of Toledo. But 4 to 6 inches is expected to fall on the city between late today and early Monday morning, adding on to a winter that became the snowiest in Toledo’s history Tuesday evening.

Snow squalls that yielded just a trace of precipitation early Thursday were followed that night by a new batch of Arctic air that produced Toledo’s seventh low-temperature record of the season.

The -7 reading at Toledo Express Airport at 6:26 a.m., breaking the 1994 record of -2, marked the fourth new cold record, along with three ties, since Jan. 1.

It also pushed February up the chart to seventh place on Toledo’s list of coldest Februaries with a 17.7-degree average daily mean temperature, while the 21.6-inch total snowfall during February also was seventh on the monthly snowfall list.

February became the second month in which Toledo placed in the Top 10 for snowfall and cold.

The 40.2-inch snowfall in January shattered the 30.8-inch record from 1978, while last month also was the sixth-coldest January on record locally with a 16.6-degree average daily mean.

The snowfall forecast for this weekend could put Toledo well on its way toward a Top 10 finish in March too.

While the 17.7-inch record from March, 1993, will still be a ways off come Monday morning, Toledo could be almost halfway to the 12.7 inches from March, 1961, that now occupies 10th place.

Toledo-area travelers today will be “in great shape ... until very late in the evening,” said Jay Berschback, chief meteorologist for WTVG-TV Channel 13.

Snow is likely to start falling in Toledo around 9 p.m., he said, with the heaviest snow likely after midnight.

The snow will taper off by Sunday afternoon, Mr. Berschback said, but in counties to the south, a second batch is likely to move in Sunday evening.

That, he said, is why Findlay could get several inches more than the 4 to 6 inches he expects in Toledo.

Southeast Michigan should only get 2 to 4 inches, but in central Ohio — particularly south of U.S. 30, and including Marion, home to early-spring forecaster Buckeye Chuck — the snow may mix with sleet and freezing rain, the forecaster said.

The National Weather Service predicted 1 to 2 inches in Toledo for late today, while its forecast for Sunday did not include an expected amount, just a 70 percent likelihood of snow during the day.

Its forecasters agreed, however, that areas south of Toledo will get more than Toledo.

“Plenty of uncertainty exists with the exact path of these two storm systems,” the weather service’s Cleveland office said in a forecast discussion.

And no, the unusual cold isn’t going away just because we’re flipping a calendar page today, either.

After this weekend’s snow, northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan are in for another wave of potentially subzero chill at midweek, Mr. Berschback said.

After a modest warmup late next week, he continued, “we could have one more surge of chilly air.”

The -3 Tuesday-morning low the National Weather Service predicted would tie the record for that date.

Any below-zero reading also will edge Toledo closer to another record in play this winter: most days with subzero temperatures.

Thursday and Friday were the 19th and 20th such days this season; the record of 23 was set during the 1976-77 winter.

The morning low at The Blade building in downtown Toledo on Friday was 4 degrees.

Contact David Patch at: dpatch@theblade.com or 419-724-6094.



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