ECMWF projected precipitation type on Saturday March 12, 2022 at 1am EST

Winter's last stand! A light wintry mix is expected to fall across portions of the Ohio Valley Tuesday night, setting up the stage for a more widespread snow accumulation on Friday night. Details below 👇
12z ECMWF projected snowfall through Saturday March 12, 2022 at 8pm EST

18z GFS projected snowfall through Saturday March 12, 2022 at 8pm EST

Spring Tease part 3 has come and gone as a strong cold front will slide south of the region this afternoon and evening. Highs that reached the lower 70s to a few spots spiking 80 will back off to below normal on Tuesday. Seasonal temperatures will return Wednesday through Friday before one last Arctic blitz comes calling this upcoming weekend.

March can be very fickle as most know. Every 6 to 10 years, on average, late February into early March comes in quiet, warm, or “In like a lamb” as some call it. That is usually a fool’s gold pattern because winter usually has to make one more charge before Spring truly sets in. This year appears no different. Highs that were 20-25 above normal last Saturday could be 20-25 degrees below this coming Saturday. That big of a swing means there will be a storm.

It is too soon to know exact conditions, but when we start out March very warm and quiet, a quick “thread the needle” snow event can surprise many, before we rapidly go back to a Spring pattern. If you recall 1987, 1993, 1999, 2008, and 2018 it did just that. 60s and 70s, nice, then 48-72 hours of shock winter with a hefty snowstorm. Could 2022 be the same?

It is possible. The motherlode of Arctic air is sitting over Canada and will wait for a disturbance on Wednesday to slide into the lower 48. Low pressure will whisk out of the Pacific Northwest and meet up with the front that sits over the Gulf Coast. Very warm and humid air will lie across Dixie as Siberian air streams in from the Plains. This interaction will deepen the low, and race northeastward late Friday into midday Saturday.

Severe thunderstorms and heavy rain will break out across Dixie and the Tennessee Valley. As the low deepens, cold air will digging in to help feed this storm. Highs that start out in the 50s to perhaps 60 early Friday will quickly tumble into the 30s by late afternoon. Winds will pick up and this is where track of the low becomes so crucial. If the low moves just to the right of the Appalachian’s and then northeastward, this will put the northern and central Ohio Valley in the right spot for deformation, heavy snow for a 8-14 hour period. With temperatures being mild ahead of the storm, abundant moisture will be lifted over the low, so a long stretch of heavy snow and temperatures just below freezing would result. This is the classic “Spring Begins Snowstorm” we get every handful of years.

Again, track is key but all models have jumped onto this idea and it is an idea that is more common then you think when this pattern is evident. Rest assured, though, by Wednesday of the following week Spring will settle back in and not let Winter back in.

Keep it here as we update this storm over the next few days.

❄️ Meteorologist Joshua Ketchen
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