COLUMBUS (WCMH) - Spring is right around the corner, and Thursday we topped 50 again for the first time since March 6th. But as soon as Mother Natures gives us something nice, she is going to take it away and give us something a bit more ugly. Saint Patrick's Day Saturday is looking like not the best weather day, however, things might start to improve by the mid-day hours.
Colder air will slide south for Friday and the start of the weekend.
After a day today in the upper 40s to around 50, we are going to see high temperatures only in the lower 40s. On top of this, we are going to have plenty of sunshine on Friday, so the cool highs show the power of the cooler airmass.
As we head into Friday night, we will start to see clouds increasing mainly after midnight. Now we are going to start to see increasing light precipitation on Saturday, but at the same time, our temperatures will start to drop below freezing.
You can see above, that when the precipitation starts to fall early Saturday morning, temperatures at the same time will be below freezing at the surface, and for several hours by this point too, bring up significantly the chances for seeing some freezing drizzle to freezing rain.
Warmer (relatively) air will be pushing in for Saturday (and enhancing for Sunday) and this will over-ride the colder surface temperatures.
As you can see from the graphic above, without this layer of warmer air, we would see more snow than anything else until the temperatures warmed up. However, with the colder surface temperatures, it is more likely that we will see a light freezing rain or sleet mix early. As temperatures climb during the morning, we will start to see more of a light rain shower mix, but again, ground temps will be at or below freezing, and will contribute to the potential for ice.
Below is our in-house latest Pinpoint Forecast for Saturday morning (without clouds)
(Below) notice by 5am, the model has moisture making its way into the state, with light rain showers being indicated. However, remember surface (ground) temperatures will be below freezing at this point for several hours overnight.
(Below) By 7am, typically the coldest period of the overnight, we will start to see more of the light freezing rain and drizzle change over across our area.
(Below) This pattern will sag south and move east through mid-morning as temperatures start to adjust upward to near 30.
(Below) By 11am, our model has the bulk of the moisture south of I-70, I still think light patchy mist or drizzle will be possible in the I-70 corridor at this point, but temps will be back above freezing, making for light slushy/slippery spots.
Overall, I do not expect a lot out of Saturday morning's precipitation output, generally 1/10th of an inch or less is expected in the area, and the bulk of this could freeze.
The National Weather Service also had modeling for total ice output as well, and is showing light icing Saturday morning too.
The heaviest of this forecast is from Celina down into the western portion of Madison county where about 1/8 to 1/10" of ice is forecast. If you look above at the Pinpoint Forecast through the morning, this is the area that could see the longest period of light precip. Saturday morning. But for the rest of the area, the NWS forecast has 1/20 to 1/16th of an inch of ice, enough to cause some travel hazards and headaches.
We will continue to monitor this closely heading into the weekend.
If you have any questions on wintry precip., ice, snow, sleet, or any other weather questions, email me, email@example.com