Meteorological winter (Dec-Feb) has ended. Looking back, it was the 26th warmest and 16th wettest winter on record for Ohio since 1895. After a very warm December, January and February were a bit on the cool side. A very active late winter pattern brought frequent, moisture-rich storm systems across Ohio, with upwards of 6-8 inches of liquid-equivalent precipitation (snow and rain) falling during February along the Cincinnati to Columbus corridor (Figure 1). This secured February 2022 as the 6th wettest February on record, with differences compared to the long-term average (1991-2020) running at least 2-4 inches above normal for much of the state.
Figure 1). Accumulated precipitation for February 2022. Figure courtesy of the Midwestern Regional Climate Center (https://mrcc.purdue.edu/).
March 2022 has maintained an active weather pattern with large swings in temperatures and plenty of moisture. After highs reached well into the 70s during the weekend of March 5th, this past weekend featured a snowstorm that dropped up to 9 inches of snow across Vinton County, with a large swath of 3-6 inches of snow along and southeast of about I-71. Precipitation is running well above average across the northern Miami Valley, Akron-Canton region, and the far southeast, while drier areas are present across the northwest. Overall, daily average 2- and 4-inch soil temperatures are running in the low to mid 30s with saturated conditions across the state, and rivers and streams are running above normal for this time of year.
Figure 2). Precipitation forecast from the Weather Prediction Center for 8pm Monday Mar 14 – 8pm Monday Mar 21.
Except for a light shower possible in the western counties on Tuesday, much of this week will be dominated by high pressure and a return flow out of the south. This will bring a strong push of warmer air, as temperatures slowly climb above normal. Highs in the 50s and 60s are expected statewide on Tuesday and Wednesday, with 60s and 70s on Thursday ahead of our next cold front. This front will push through with rain showers on Friday and early Saturday, before improving conditions take over for the rest of the weekend. The Weather Prediction Center is currently predicting 0.25-0.75” inches of liquid-equivalent precipitation over the next 7 days (Figure 2).
The Climate Prediction Center’s 6–10-day outlook for the period of March 20 - 24, 2022 and the 16-Day Rainfall Outlook from NOAA/NWS/Ohio River Forecast Center indicate that temperatures are likely to be above average for the period with wetter than average conditions (Figure 3). Climate averages for this period include a high temperature range of 47-53°F, a low temperature range of 29-34°F, and average liquid-equivalent precipitation of 0.50-1.0 inch.
Figure 3) Climate Prediction Center 6-10 Day Outlook valid for March 20 -24, 2022, for left) temperatures and right) precipitation. Colors represent the probability of below, normal, or above normal conditions.