The models are starting to agree on a solution for Thursday-Friday, and we are now only about 36 hours out from the first flakes of the second lake effect snow event of this winter…
The flow will become northwesterly Wednesday night, and 850mb temperatures will fall to -8 to -10C by 12z Thursday. However, the flow will not be well aligned with forecast skew-t’s showing some directional shear above 850mb, and the atmosphere will be very dry.
Thursday afternoon however, an upper level shortwave will swing through the southern Great Lakes. Mid level moisture will increase some and the flow will become fairly well aligned out of the west ahead of the feature. 850mb temperatures will remain in the -8 to -10C range as the trough approaches and inversions will climb to 10-12k ft per the 12z NAM. This should allow some lake effect/enhanced snow to break out Thursday afternoon. The flow will be generally westerly, so the initial snow should be confined to east of Cleveland, although some scattered/light snow showers may occur elsewhere across northern Ohio as there will be a small surge of mid level synoptic moisture along with decent lift as some good vorticity advects into the region along with decent mid level height falls.
By Thursday evening the shortwave will pass to the east and the flow will become more west-northwesterly. 850mb temps may bottom out between -10 and -12C at this time, for a few hours. There will be some moisture left behind after the shortwave, so some lake effect snows will continue going east of Cleveland into Thursday night.
Ridging will begin to build in late Thursday night. By 12z Friday inversions will likely fall to around 5k feet and the airmass will really begin to dry out, so all that will likely be left is some flurries/light snow showers east of Cleveland. The flow will begin to shift more towards the southwest and temperatures will begin to warm Friday morning, which should effectively end any lake effect over Ohio.
The 12z NAM and ECM are in decent agreement on this scenario. The GFS is more progressive with the trough. Leaned towards the consensus at this time.
As for how much snow may fall, there may be a half inch to an inch of snow east of Cleveland Thursday afternoon as the shortwave passes. There could even be light dustings in the higher elevations of southern Cuyahoga, northern Medina and northern Summit counties as there will be some synoptic moisture and lift with the upper trough. Given the cold 850mb temps/synoptic moisture/lift, it should snow/possibly accumulate down to the lake shore Thursday with the shortwave passage. Thursday evening there will be a brief window for perhaps some decent banding on a WNW flow over the eastern suburbs into the Snow Belt. After midnight lake effect conditions will begin to slowly deteriorate, and I just expect scattered snow showers after mid night out east. If we see a few hours of decent lake effect, I suppose 1-2” more may fall somewhere from eastern Cuyahoga county points east Thursday evening, with relatively light accumulations (half inch or less) after midnight Thursday night. My guess is that the potential max over northeast Ohio is 3” or so, and I do not believe any headlines will be needed.
Will go with this as my guess, for 7am Thursday through noon Friday: