Please Note that you are viewing the non-styled version of the Ohio Committee For Severe Weather Awareness website. Either your browser does not support Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) or it is disabled. We suggest upgrading your browser to the latest version of your favorite Internet browser.
Governor's Winter Safety Week Resolution
2017-2018 Ohio Winter Summary
Winter Weather Terms
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
Turn Around Don’t Drown®
Carbon Monoxide Information & Safety
Portable Generator Info
Severe Winter Storm Resource List
Southwest & Central Ohio
Winter got an early start across much of the region in November with below-normal temperatures for much of the month and a significant early-season ice event that evolved during the early morning hours on November 15, 2018. Many spots in southwest and central Ohio received several hours of moderate to heavy freezing rain, which led to substantial ice accretion on trees and elevated surfaces. Numerous reports of at least one-quarter inch thick ice were received across the region, making it one of the earliest significant ice events in recent memory for the Ohio Valley. And while this event served as an early reminder of winter’s impending arrival, several other cold snaps led to multiple light snow events during the month.
The wet weather of November carried right into December, with well-above normal rainfall across much of the region through both months. In fact, some spots received more than 150 to 175 percent of their normal rainfall in the two-month span, leading to a soggy start to the beginning of the winter season. However, unlike in November, temperatures in December ended up slightly above normal – especially on the final day of 2018 when temperatures soared into the 60s area-wide. With the frequent bouts of moderate-to-heavy rain and warmer-than-usual temperatures, December snowfall ended well below normal with most spots picking up around an inch or less for the month, as a whole.
The month of January started off just where December ended, with above normal temperatures and little sign of any notable winter weather in the Ohio Valley. In fact, temperatures mostly reached into the 40s, 50s and 60s each of the first eight days or so of the month before more typically cold air returned by December 10. For the final few weeks in December, seasonable cold and snow became much more frequent.
In fact, the first major snow event of the year evolved January 12-13, with light snow during the day on the 12th followed by a much heavier/more widespread band of snow that progressed through the region in the predawn hours on the 13th. This storm yielded widespread snow accumulations of 3-6 inches, with some of the heaviest/highest amounts reported across southwestern Ohio with many spots receiving 7-9 or more inches by the time the snow came to an end, mid-morning on the 13th. This snowpack helped keep seasonably cold temperatures entrenched across the area for several days before a brief warm-up evolved past the middle of the month.
The next winter storm to impact the Ohio Valley was not far behind, with the region beginning to feel some impacts during the day on January 19. This system initially produced mixed wintry precipitation of snow, sleet and even a bit of freezing rain during the early morning hours on the 19th before most precipitation transitioned to light rain by the afternoon. However, by late evening into the overnight hours, a strong cold front ushered in much colder air with a very heavy band of snow pivoting east through the region. This band of snow, accompanied by snow rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour, winds of 30-40 mph, and rapidly dropping temperatures, led to near whiteout conditions in parts of the area during the predawn hours on Jan. 20. Many spots received 3-5 inches of snow in just a several hour period before the snow came to an end by the afternoon hours. High totals of 6-8+ inches were generally seen north of the I-70 corridor where the cold air allowed for precipitation to remain all snow throughout the event (including during the day on Jan. 19).
The final significant weather event of January 2019 was an unusually potent outbreak of arctic air which filtered into the Ohio Valley, Jan. 29-31. Wind chill values plummeted from the -20 to -35 degree range early on Jan. 30, with the first ever issuance of snow squall warnings across southwestern Ohio during the morning hours. Cold wind chills ended up being the main story, with the coldest wind chill (-36°F) observed at the Dayton International Airport since 1994 and the second coldest wind chill (-28°F) recorded at John Glenn International Airport since 1985.
Immediately following the arctic outbreak came a weak/fast-moving weather system which produced 3 to more than 6 inches of dry, powdery snow on February 1, with heaviest amounts/accumulation near/north of the I-70 corridor. However, following this quick-hitting snow event, much warmer temperatures filtered into the region – with temperatures reaching into the 50s and even 60s in the several days that followed. This culminated in a severe weather event on February 7 in which multiple clusters of storms progressed through the region in a highly sheared (but low instability) environment. Very heavy rain was reported in parts of the area, as well as gusty non-thunderstorm-related winds. Additionally, an EF0 tornado was confirmed to have touched down in Clark County, Ohio.
Following the severe weather on Feb. 7, a return to more seasonable cold evolved for several days, but overall the pattern featured numerous fluctuations in temperatures through much of the remaining parts of February. Another system produced a myriad of precipitation types in the area on February 20, with warmer air near/south of the Ohio River causing most of the precipitation to fall as rain. Meanwhile, to the north, colder air was maintained, allowing for snowfall accumulations of 2-5 inches north of the I-70 corridor from west-central through central Ohio.
The month closed out with above normal temperatures and a high-wind event on Feb. 24 in which wind gusts exceeded 60 mph across portions of central Ohio during the afternoon hours. However, February 2019 will be most remembered for being anomalously wet across most of the region – with many spots receiving nearly double the normal rainfall in the month.
March 2019, like many Marches in the area, featured a highly-variable weather pattern with bouts of both winter and severe weather throughout the Ohio Valley. Several inches of snow fell on March 3 which was soon followed by a significant severe weather event on March 14. Overall, however, the wet pattern of winter continued right into and through March, with many spots receiving well over the normal amount of rain during the month.
Many spots in the area received 21-28 inches of total snow throughout the winter, which is pretty much on par with what would typically be expected in a given winter for southwest and central Ohio.
The winter season got off to an early start in November, with temperatures dropping well below normal during the middle of the month. A closed upper level low formed just north of Texas on November 14th and tracked northeast. An abundant amount of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico traveled with the system into the northeast United States. Freezing rain eventually transitioned to snow when northwest flow began on the backside of the surface low. In general, a light ice accumulation was followed by 1-3 inches of snow across east-central Ohio.
December featured mainly above normal temperatures with little in the way of wintry precipitation. This pattern continued early into the New Year, until the first major winter storm occurred on Dec. 19 and 20. Strong low pressure lifting from the lower Mississippi Valley on the 19th moved into the mid-Atlantic region the following day. The result was the first significant snow accumulation of 2019. While locations close to the Ohio River received 1-3 inches, a band of 5-10 inches stretched roughly from Zanesville to Salem. January ended with a very cold air mass, with temperatures falling below zero at night on the 30th and 31st. Wind chill values of 20 to 30 degrees below zero were also observed.
February 2019 was a very active month. Right at the start, low pressure tracked across the Mid-Ohio Valley along a nearly stationary boundary on Feb. 1. The highest snow totals of 3-6 inches were seen south of I-70, with a bit less to the north. This storm was followed by much warmer temperatures.
Then, flooding became the main concern. Low pressure tracked across Ohio and Pennsylvania on February 6, pushing a warm front northward which stalled over Pennsylvania. A second low pressure center tracked along this boundary, strengthening as it tracked into Michigan and Ontario. Abundant moisture provided two main periods of rainfall, with another round of showers accompanying a cold front on the night of February 7. One to three inches of rain combined with melting snow to produce some flooding issues, mainly in Noble, Monroe, and Guernsey counties. This was followed by another heavy rain event on February 12 and 13, with another 1.5 - 2.5 inches of rain.
Numerous road closures were reported in several counties. Colder temperatures in the middle of the month helped to set up the next winter storm on February 20. Low pressure tracked from the Plains to the upper Midwest, before transitioning to a coastal system by the morning of Feb. 21. This low pushed a warm front northward across the region. Widespread precipitation was generated by deep moisture and an area of strong lift that accompanied the warm front. Precipitation started mainly as snow, but transitioned to a mostly brief period of mixed precipitation as warmer air moved in aloft.
By late evening Feb.20, the passage of the warm front allowed all precipitation to change to rain. The most snow was seen north of I-70, where 3-5 inches accumulated. Less was seen to the south as a mix with rain kept totals lower. Finally, late February brought a widespread damaging wind event. Strong low pressure lifted from the central Plains on the morning of the 23rd into the western Great Lakes by Feb. 24. A cold front then rushed across the region during the late morning/early afternoon hours.
Some rain showers accompanied the front, but the main story was the prolonged period of damaging wind gusts that followed the frontal passage. An extended period of 40-55 mph wind gusts was observed across the region, with many reports of downed trees and a few instances of structural damage reported. The highest recorded gust in the area was 56 mph in Zanesville on February 24.
Overall, the winter of December 2018 through February 2019 featured above normal temperature and precipitation over the three-month period, with snowfall fairly close to normal. The generally slow start to winter was more than made up for by the busier later two months, especially February.
The month of December ended several degrees above normal with temperatures generally 2-4 degrees warmer than average. It was slightly wetter than average, with the region receiving about 150 percent of normal precipitation for the month. Snowfall was a few inches below normal with monthly totals ranging from around half an inch near the Ohio River to one inch in east central Ohio.
Temperatures in January were near normal while precipitation was above normal with much of the region recording 150-175 percent of normal precipitation. Snowfall ended up close to average across east central Ohio with approximately 10 inches measured. However, close to the Ohio River, snowfall was considerably less with around 2 inches of snowfall measured.
February turned out to be a rather warm month with temperatures averaging 1-3 degrees above normal. It was also a wet month with 200-300 percent of normal precipitation recorded across the area. Despite the warm temperatures, snowfall ended up several inches above average across east central Ohio with around 9 inches measured. It was a different story closer to the Ohio River where only about an inch of snow was recorded for the month which made for a much below normal month for snowfall.
The winter season as a whole can best be described as mild and wet with little in the way of snow as one traveled closer to the Ohio River. Sporadic cold intrusions in January and February, combined with the overall wet pattern, did allow for snowier than average snowfall across east central Ohio.
The 2018-2019 winter season began with below normal snowfall and above normal temperatures December through the first half of January. This changed for the second half of January as a cold blast from the arctic and Siberia brought record cold temperatures and near to slightly above normal snowfall to end the month. February would end the meteorological winter season with near normal temperatures and below normal snowfall.
There were a few notable winter weather systems and events in January and February after what was essentially a snowless December and early January. These included:
Temperatures for the winter season (December 2018 – February 2019) were near to above normal. Precipitation was near normal, while snowfall was below normal.
The winter of 2018-2019 in northern Ohio entered quickly as a potent lake effect snow event impacted the Snowbelt region the second weekend of November. A quick transition from rain to snow allowed for portions of Ashtabula County to get up to two feet of snow in just several hours on a sleepy Saturday morning on November 10. Snow became less frequent for the remainder of the month, but temperatures stayed cool throughout the month, making November 2018 one of the cooler Novembers on record.
Once the calendar flipped, temperatures transitioned to be well above normal for the month, making December 2018 one of the warmest on record. Several minor snow events occurred December, but altogether, snow totals remained below 12 inches across the entire area, with most receiving just a paltry couple of inches. The end of the month was warm with high temperatures in the 50s and 60s for the holidays and crossing into 2019.
January 2019 was the most active winter month for the 2018-2019 season in northern Ohio. A fairly robust multi-banded lake effect snow event on January 9-11 impacted the primary and secondary snow belts of Northeast Ohio, when many locations received 8-12 inches of snow. This was also the first impactful snowfall of the season for the Cleveland metro area. The most significant snowfall of the season for the entire forecast area occurred just a week and a half later, over the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. A widespread snow storm hit northern Ohio with 8-18 inches of snow in a 24 hour period. The heaviest snow was located along I-71 from Mansfield to Cleveland and then east through the NE Ohio Snowbelt. Some freezing rain and sleet mixed in with the snow over portions of central Ohio, allowed for additional impacts but lesser snow amounts. This event was the first significant widespread snowfall across the entire northern half of Ohio since February 2015.
Late January featured a deep arctic freeze as temperatures plummeted to well below zero on Jan. 30 and 31. Some locations were below zero for almost 24 hours! Record lows were set in Mansfield and Toledo. Strong winds over the region allowed for frigid wind chills of -25 to -40 degrees, which closed schools for the two days.
The 2019 winter season ended with some February ice and a cool March. February had several minor snow events and slightly above normal temperatures. However, there were several freezing rain events during the month. One freezing rain event on Feb. 12 in the Toledo area coated the metro area in ¼ to ½ inch of ice, shutting down the city.
Winter lingered into March with a couple minor snow events and below normal temperatures, but impacts were minimal to the region. In summary, winter 2018-2019 featured above normal temperatures and below normal snowfall for all areas with notable events that occurred in January with a good widespread snow storm and arctic cold snap.