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Governor's Winter Safety Week Resolution
2012-2013 Ohio Winter Summary
Preparedness for Schools
Ice & Snow, Take It Slow
Winter Safety Tips For The Home
Winter Safety Tips For For The Vehicle
Winter Safety Tips For Fire Safety
Winter Health & Safety Tips
Snow Emergency Classifications
Wind Chill Index
Flood Information and Safety Tips
Flood Insurance Information
Carbon Monoxide Information & Safety
Portable Generator Info
Severe Winter Storm Resource List
North Central and Northeast Ohio
The winter of 2012-2013 in north central and northeast Ohio was characterized by warm temperatures and few big snowstorms. Temperatures at the beginning and end of the winter were below normal but readings during the heart of the season were warm. For the second year in a row most of the climate stations in this region finished with below normal snowfall totals. Totals in the Lake Erie snowbelt were also a little below normal with a peak of just under 130 inches in northern Geauga County.
December was very warm with average temperatures five to seven degrees above normal. The Akron-Canton area experienced its 8th warmest December ever. There were only a couple of minor lake effect snow events during the month. However, the biggest snow storm of the season occurred on December 26th. An area of low pressure moved up the Ohio Valley and brought snow and very gusty winds to the area. Near blizzard conditions occurred for a few hours causing travel problems. Snowfall totals ranged from 6 to 10 inches east of Interstate 71 to just a couple of inches along the Interstate 75 corridor.
Warm weather continued during the month of January. Average temperatures for the month were between two and four degrees above normal. Only a couple of very weak storm systems affected the region during the month. This resulted in snowfall totals of no more than a few inches outside of the snowbelt. A prolonged lake effect snow event on the 21st through the 24th dumped as much as two feet of snow on Geauga County.
February ended up being the snowiest month of the winter. Several storms brought measureable snowfall to the entire area. There were also several episodes of lake effect snow to the east of Cleveland. All of the major climate stations finished the month with at least a foot of snowfall. Some of the locations in the snowbelt had a few feet of accumulation during the month.
Spring was slow to arrive with cool temperatures continuing during the month of March. It was a dry month with little snowfall outside of the Lake Erie snowbelt. An ice storm affected the northeast corner of Ohio on March 18th. A glaze of ice closed schools, caused scattered power outages and resulted in many accidents in Portage, Mahoning, Trumbull and Ashtabula counties.
Extreme Northwest Ohio
The first half of the 2012-2013 winter, December into the first 20 days of January, was characterized by a wet and warm pattern overall. The warmest stretch of weather was during the first 20 days of December when temperatures averaged 10 to 15 degrees above normal.
A pattern changed occurred for the last 10 days of December into early January. Snowfall was near to above normal in December thanks to two snow events late in the month. On December 26th, a deepening low pressure system tracked northeast through the Ohio Valley and brought accumulating snow and blowing snow to extreme northwest Ohio. Snow accumulations ranged from between 1 and 4 inches across Fulton, Henry, Williams, and Defiance counties to between 6 and 10 inches in Allen and Van Wert counties. Wind gusts to 35 mph created blizzard conditions at times. On December 28th into the 29th, a low pressure system tracked through the Ohio Valley and produced between 2 and 6 inches of snow in portions of extreme northwest Ohio. The heaviest snow once again fell across Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert, and Allen counties.
Dramatic ups and downs in temperatures and several rain events were seen for the middle of January as temperatures averaged above normal once again. Snowfall in January averaged well below normal.
The second half of the winter, January 20th through late March, was a different story as a more typical winter pattern set up across the region.
The first significant arctic outbreak of the season brought the coldest day of the winter season on January 22nd. On January 27th, light freezing rain spread north into the region ahead of a warm front during the evening hours. Ice accretions near a tenth of an inch were common which created slick spots on area roads.
February featured average temperatures and above normal snowfall/precipitation. On February 4th, an Alberta Clipper brought accumulating snow to northwest Ohio with total accumulations generally ranging between 2 and 4 inches. On February 26th, a strong low pressure system lifted northeast through the Midwest and Great Lakes and brought a period of moderate freezing rain to extreme northwest Ohio. Ice accretions near a tenth of an inch were common.
Unlike last year, winter extended into March with temperatures well below normal and snowfall ranging near to below normal in Paulding, Putnam, Defiance, and Henry counties to well above normal in Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert, and Allen counties. On March 5th, a strengthening low pressure system tracked east through the Ohio Valley region producing between 5 and 9 inches of heavy snow in extreme northwest Ohio, mainly in Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert, and Allen counties. Most of the heavy snow fell during the late afternoon and evening hours of March 5th. During late March 24th into the morning hours of March 25th, another system similar to the March 5th event produced another 5 to 9 inches of heavy wet snow in extreme northwest Ohio. Again, most of the snow was confined to Allen, Van Wert, Paulding, and Putnam counties.
The winter season across eastern Ohio was defined by large temperature fluctuations from December into January, which trended downward as the season progressed with much below normal temperatures for February and March. The mean temperatures for December and January were higher than February and March combined. Snowfall was near normal, with numerous smaller events of snow and mixed precipitation.
The largest snowfall across eastern Ohio during the winter season was five inches over an 18 hour time window on 26 December 2012. Due to the cold weather, the snow stuck on the ground for nearly a week. This was the longest period of snow on the ground in eastern Ohio during the 2012-2013 winter season.
Central, South Central, Southwest, and Western Ohio
On December 20th through the 21st a system affected the area which produced 3 to 4 inches of snow in isolated areas of western Ohio and a few locations measured 58 MPH gusts.
On December 26th, 2012 precipitation overspread the region through the day as a low pressure system moved through the Tennessee Valley. To the northwest of Interstate 71, precipitation remained mainly snow through the event with snowfall amounts generally in the 6 to 10 inch range. Along and southeast of Interstate 71, sleet and freezing rain mixed with the snow, significantly reducing snowfall accumulations.
Friday night, December 28th, through Saturday, December 29th, a low pressure system moved across the Tennessee Valley and into the Appalachians. Snow overspread the Ohio Valley region Friday evening...and continued through Saturday morning. The heaviest snow generally fell along and southeast of Interstate 71, where snowfall amounts of 4 to 5 inches were common, with local amounts as high as 6 inches. To the north and west of Interstate 71, snowfall amounts were in the 2 to 4 inch range.
Cold air moved into the region Monday, January 21st, into Tuesday, January 22nd. On Monday, January 21st snow squalls developed that resulted in numerous pileups on the interstates over the Ohio Valley. One fatality and 27 injuries occurred in a 90 vehicle pileup on I-275 north-northwest of Cincinnati. That accident has been called the largest vehicle crash in Ohio history. It involved 72 cars, trucks, and SUVs, and 18 tractor trailers. Around the same time, 52 vehicles crashed between Middletown and Monroe on I-75, injuring 10. A short time later, a 29 car pileup occurred on I-270 on the northeast side of Columbus. Four people were hospitalized. I-71 at I-670 in Columbus was closed when 2 tractor trailers and other vehicles were involved in accidents. In addition, there was an accident involving 20 vehicles and 4 tractor trailers in Richland County near Mansfield.
Weather systems affected the region on January 25th, January 28th, and January 31st producing mainly light amounts of snow or freezing rain.
On February 4th and February 13th several systems affected the region and produced generally 2 inches or less of snow.
A wintry mix of precipitation fell across the Ohio Valley during the evening hours of Thursday, February 21 into the morning of Friday, February 22. With sub-freezing surface temperatures, the precipitation started off as a mix of sleet and snow and transitioned to freezing rain as warmer air aloft nosed into the region. Snow and sleet accumulations were typically under an inch, and ice accumulation ranged from one to two tenths of an inch in most cases, with some values topping a quarter inch.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, March 5th-6th a potent winter storm hit the region, producing 6-8 inches of snow in our north, with 3-5 inches in the south.
On Sunday, March 17th, an overrunning event occurred which produced 3 to 6 inches of snow in south central Ohio.
On Sunday and Monday March 24th and 25th, snow and sleet along with some rain spread through the region, with significant snow found over metropolitan Dayton and to the northwest. A surface low pressure system moved from the Tennessee Valley to Ohio during the overnight. This low was enhanced by an upper low which tracked east through Kentucky late Sunday night into early Monday. The surface low pressure system stalled over Ohio and large snowfall amounts were recorded north and west of Dayton. Up to 7 to 10 inches of snowfall was reported in this area. Drier air was pulled into central Ohio, limiting snowfall totals significantly in this area. Much of the early part of the event started as rain in southern Ohio and snowfall totals were notably lower in this area.
Southeast Ohio overall had a non-typical 2012-2013 winter season. The cooperative observer in Athens received a total of 23 inches of snow, with at the most 5 inches on the ground at one time. In Marietta the cooperative observer only measured 5.3 inches of snow, with the most 2 inches on the ground at one time. Closer to the snow belts, the cooperative observer in New Lexington, received almost 30 inches of snow, but only had 4 inches on the ground at one time.
A lack of precipitation at the beginning of the winter caused most areas to run below normal for snowfall for the season. No big significant snow storms were noted. Average snowfall for Southeast Ohio ranged from 10 to 15 inches in the lower river valleys to 20 to 25 inches in the northern higher hilltops. This was below normal for the season. Normal snowfall for southeast Ohio ranges between 20 to 25 inches in the lower river valleys and 30 to 35 inches in the higher hilltops.