Winter system expected to bring sleet, ice and heavy snow this weekend

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UPDATED FORECAST from Jeff Booth:

The changeover happens sometime in the early to mid-afternoon and we'll see sleet with a possible light glazing to up to about a tenth of an inch of ice. After that snow moves in through Friday night and accumulates through Saturday morning.

Right now 2-4" or 3-6" of snow looks to be the most probable situation in Central Ohio. Areas off to the northeast of the city could see a little more. READ MORE >>

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The big weather story of the week is one that hasn't even started yet in central Ohio. Right now a system is churning out in the Pacific Northwest and it looks like it'll have a big impact on our weather over the weekend.

The storm system looks like it'll bring the whole kitchen sink when it comes to precipitation types here and throughout the Buckeye State. The worst of the weather is expected to hit Friday night through Saturday in the late morning if not early afternoon.

By now you may have heard that there's the potential for multiple feet of snow in the area, that doesn't mean it'll happen and I don't think it will. The North American Modal (NAM) is pictured above and it's responsible for all of the panic.

It brings the heart of the snowfall through Central and Northwest Ohio. It's not uncommon for this model to overpredict snow this far out from an event (as of this writing, 12:30 A.M. Wednesday, we're still more than 48 hours away from the changeover to wintry weather).

I would be shocked if this model ends up being right.

The ECMWF (European) model is calling for nearly a foot of snow. This seems a little aggressive as well, I'll explain in a bit.

The GFS (Global Forecast System) model is what I'm leaning towards with this current forecast. It's calling for slightly less snow but there's a good reason for that: it has a few hours of sleet and/or freezing rain at the onset of the changeover to wintry weather on Friday.

The ice/sleet portion of the forecast is the big "wild card" in this forecast. The amount of it will really impact snow totals.

Before I mentioned the NAM. It has the highest snow total forecast but it also has the highest ice and sleet forecast.

IF we got the higher end of the snow total we'd get less ice and sleet and vice versa. That's another reason I'm thinking the snowfall forecast from this model is a bit off.

The ECMWF is calling for little to no ice and sleet in the area, I'm not confident that will be the case either. IF we didn't get any of that then we'd be more likely to see higher snow totals.

That's another reason I'm leaning towards the GFS solution, it seems to have a better handle on the system as a whole.

The GFS model is calling for a more ice than the ECMWF and less than the NAM. It's also falling into the range of the model "consensus" which is what we look for, especially this far in advance, when making a forecast.

Courtesy: Iowa State

So now the moment of truth. How much snow and ice can we expect? Right now it looks like we'll likely get somewhere between 0.05" - 0.15" of ice with this at the onset of the changeover from rain.

This will eat up some of the available moisture that could be used to make snow.

Courtesy: Iowa State

Above you'll see how a number of models are handling the snow forecast for this coming system. Some models are calling for nearly a foot while others are calling for 2" or less.

That's what's making this so tough: the models are all over the place. The consensus, though, has me thinking we'll get anywhere from about 3"-6" to maybe 4"-8" across central Ohio.

I'm thinking the lower end will be in the south where we have a little more sleet and ice and areas in the far north may get slightly higher amounts than the top end of the forecast.

Keep in mind this is just that, a forecast. We're still more than two days out from when the wintry weather will start affecting us. That means there's still plenty of time for things to change. It'll all depend on the actual track of the storm.

If it tracks farther west we're looking at more rain than snow. If it tracks through the state we're looking at a mixed bag of precipitation which will make for a mess.

If the storm moves by east of us we're getting a lot of snow. Right now 10TV is forecasting the storm to move through the eastern half of the state which is why we have the snow totals we do right now.

Keep tuning back to 10TV on-air and online for the latest tweaks to the forecast so you can stay ahead of this incoming winter system.

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