A late blast of winter weather will arrive Sunday bringing up to 8 inches of snow to the area by Monday morning.
The heaviest snowfall will be to the north and west of Dayton and Springfield and will fall between sunset and midnight, according to Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Jamie Simpson.
Because of the timing, the snow could affect traffic leaving the University of Dayton after the day’s third round NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship games.
“Getting to the games may not be bad, but things may be getting bad as games let out and people are heading home,” Simpson said. There will be two games played at UD Arena on Sunday, but exact times had not been announced Friday afternoon.
Tim O’Connell, assistant vice president for athletics at UD, said the arena staff is prepared for any weather and has had to dig out on game nights many times in the past.
“We have a great snow removal service for our parking lots,” he said. “We have no concerns.”
Fred Stovall, director of public works for the city of Dayton, said his crews are keeping a close eye on the forecast so they can be ready to respond to the arena area if necessary.
Simpson said snow will start about 9 or 10 a.m. Sunday and will remain light throughout the day. Heavier snowfall will start after sunset when the wind shifts and pulls colder air into the area.
Dayton, Springfield and areas to the south and east could see temperatures rise above 32 degrees in the afternoon and some freezing rain mix in with the snow, Simpson said.
Between 4 and 8 inches of accumulation is expected by Monday morning in areas north of Interstate 70 with 3 to 6 inches expected south of there.
According to a weather outlook published by the National Weather Service Friday, low pressure will move into the region on Sunday bringing an unseasonably cold air mass into place over the Ohio Valley.
The weather service issued a winter storm watch for most of the Miami Valley from Sunday morning through Monday evening which states between 5 and 10 inches of snow is possible. Warren County is not included in the watch.
AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said the track of the heaviest band of snowfall across the country was still unclear Friday. “A small shift in the storm track could mean the difference between heavy snow in Kansas City, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Dayton versus Omaha, Chicago and Cleveland,” he said.
Roads are expected to be snow-covered and problematic Sunday night and Monday morning. Many area schools are on spring break starting Monday, but schools in session, including Springfield City Schools, could be on a delay Monday morning. Snow will taper down in the morning so cancellations are unlikely.
If the official snowfall total for Dayton tops four inches on Sunday, it will break the record for that date set in 1912. The only major snow storm to hit the area later than that date was in 1987 when nearly 8 inches of snow fell in Dayton on March 30.
It’s been 20 years since the so called “Storm of the Century” dumped as much as 20 inches of snow on some parts of eastern Ohio. The blizzard that hit the east coast March 12-14, 1993 spared the Miami Valley, dropping less than four inches on the area.
The average date of the last measurable snowfall in Dayton is March 30, according to NWS meteorologist Myron Padgett.
Simpson said this looks to be the area’s last major bout of wintry weather.
On Monday and Tuesday there is a chance of light snow showers. The rest of the week will be dry with temperatures warming up into the 40s.
Simpson predicts two more weeks of below average temperatures, but the overall spring outlook is warmer and wetter than average.
The weather service issued it’s annual three-month U.S. Spring Outlook on Thursday which calls for above normal temperatures and precipitation in April, May and June this year and labels southwest Ohio at a minor risk for flooding issues.