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FORECAST | Tracking snow for early next week: Here's how the system is developing

A nice weekend is on the way with sunshine, but a winter storm will arrive Monday with rain changing over to snow. Here's what we know so far.

CLEVELAND — There are a lot of moving pieces with the forecast the next few several days. The weekend looks nice as clouds eventually break, but then our first winter storm of the season will move in by Monday. An impactful, accumulating snow looks likely.

THIS WEEKEND

Some sunshine will be breaking out as we clear out with westerly winds.

Saturday:  Morning clouds to sun, 40s.

Sunday:  Morning sun with clouds returning late, 50s.

Credit: WKYC

Then things get wintry early next week... mixture of rain and snow will move in, eventually transitioning to an accumulating snow later in the day. (Everyone will make that switch to snow at various times, resulting in varying accumulations.) Here is what we are tracking:

Credit: WKYC

LOOKING AHEAD

A nice weekend is on the way with some sunshine and some 40s/50s. BUT... Get ready for the beginning of next week! By Sunday, our next storm system will be approaching from the southwest. This system will bring increasing clouds late in the day Sunday. Then rain will arrive Monday and will likely changeover to snow from west to east during the day Monday. As always, the track of this storm is crucial in deciding who gets rain, snow, and how much.

WHAT IS A "DELTA LOW?"

Two types of storm systems (not lake effect) that have big snow potential here in Northeast Ohio are "Panhandle Hooks" and "Delta Lows". 

A panhandle hook is a storm system that forms in the Plains (in the vicinity of the Oklahoma/Texas panhandles).  This type of storm system spins up in the lee of the Rockies, is usually connected to good upper atmospheric support and will tap into Gulf Coast moisture as it moves east before “hooking” northeast up the spine of the Appalachian Mountains.  If a panhandle hook system stays on a favorable track and the air is cold enough – we typically get a good hit of widespread snow.

A delta low is a storm system that originates in the Mississippi Delta region and moves north-northeastward up or just west of the spine of the Appalachians.  Typically the upper level support is disconnected from the surface low initially but the storm can rapidly intensify as the lower level and upper level components come together.  These storms have an abundance of moisture coming with them, but because of the initially disconnected parts they can be prone to more mixing of rain and snow before the cold air really gets into the groove. 

Credit: WKYC

VARIABLES TO CONSIDER

These storm systems are all about track and timing.  How quickly is it moving?  How strong is the lower level part of the storm?  How strong is the upper level part of the storm and when/where/how will the merger take place?  There are often more questions than answers and the final answer is never known until the storm is over.  Remember we have Lake Erie that gets into the game as the cold air settles in and the storm system departs.

These are very tricky.  And they are absolutely fascinating to watch.

UPDATED STORM TIMELINE

Rain and rain/snow moves in Monday morning.  Rain/snow becoming more snow than rain mid-day into afternoon from west to east.  All snow Monday night and into Tuesday.

HOW MUCH?

Still waaaaaaay too early to tell.  This is the type of situation that (if everything lines up) could bring us impactful snowfall as we've been mentioning.  The location of the heaviest snow amounts will depend on how the storm evolves and tracks.  That said, it looks like widespread accumulating snow for most our area, and remember this isn’t lake effect – it’ll be notable across the entire area.

TONIGHT: Mostly cloudy. Mid 30s.

SATURDAY: Clouds clearing. Mid 40s.

SUNDAY: Mostly sunny. Low 50s.

MONDAY: Rain/snow changing to all snow Mid 40s dropping to 30s.

TUESDAY:  Windy and cold with snow likely. Mid 30s.

WEDNESDAY: Snow showers likely. Mid 30s.

THURSDAY: Mostly cloudy. Mid 30s.

FRIDAY: Snow flurries. Mid 30s.

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Get more weather from the 3News Weather team of Betsy Kling (@betsykling), Hollie Strano (@holliesmiles), Matt Wintz (@WintzWeather) Jason Frazer (@JasonFrazerTV), and Matt Standridge (@StandridgeWX).

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