Elwell: Alberta Clippers to bring frigid winds this winter

Published: Monday, December 11, 2017 @ 3:18 PM

An Alberta Clipper is racing into the Miami Valley tonight and will spread snow across the area. Due to the systems fast pace and weakening trend, snowfall amounts will generally be under 1 inch. However, yet another system is about 24 hours behind it, and could produce heavier snow in the area.

What is typically born in Alberta, Canada, and tends to love La Nina winters? An Alberta Clipper, of course. 

It’s one of the most significant synoptic-scale winter weather phenomena affecting central North America and the Great Lakes.

STORM CENTER 7: Get the latest forecast

We had one bring us snow last weekend, and we have another one crossing the Great Lakes Tuesday. They occur most frequently during December and January and substantially less during October and March. 

Alberta Clippers are defined as very fast moving low-pressure systems, usually with low in moisture content, originating in Alberta in the lee of the Canadian Rockies, and then travel southeastward.

Because clipper systems develop and track usually far away from large moisture sources, they typically do not produce a lot of precipitation. They also tend to move very quickly, sometimes as fast as 40 miles per hour. 

Clippers are most known for producing strong, frigid winds, and the strongest ones can blast a region with 30 to 50 mph gusts or stronger.

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With freshly fallen snow, clippers can create blizzard-like conditions. With the low moisture content, these systems usually only produce a few inches of snow at most. This can vary, though, depending on how much moisture the clipper can bring with it and how cold the air is. The colder the temperature, the higher the liquid to snow ratio will be. Basically, if it is quite cold, snowflakes can “fluff up” more, leading to higher accumulations. 

Because we are likely entering a La Nina winter, it is likely that much of the snowfall we see this coming season will be from Alberta Clippers. Alberta Clippers love La Nina years. 

La Nina means the Jet Stream or storm track usually dives south across the Great Lakes. That can often mean areas surrounding the lakes often see a white Christmas.

The Great Lakes southern and eastern shores often receive enhanced snowfall from Clippers during the winter months from lake enhancement. Lake-effect snow substantially increases snowfall totals. 

Also, if conditions are favorable, an Alberta Clipper can rapidly intensify off the East Coast. Once the storm taps the relatively warm moist air over the Atlantic Ocean, the storm sometimes spreads heavy snow over New England and Southeastern Canada. Such a system appears to be brewing for this region this week. 

While not quite as common, there are two variations of Alberta Clippers. Manitoba Maulers and Saskatchewan Screamers are the names given to the other two. These systems are still often referred to as Clippers. The main difference between the three is from which Canadian province they begin their southward track. 

MORE: Snow squalls could impact drivers Tuesday

While the pattern may try to moderate some as we head through this week, we have clearly entered a weather pattern prone to frequent clippers. If we can maintain or get a reinforcement of fresh cold air, it is looking like our chances for a white Christmas this year may be higher than normal. 

There are signs in the long-range models that more cold air should arrive toward the end of the month. In fact, it is possible that the Ohio Valley could see a “battle-zone” of sorts set up around Christmas week between colder air trying to get reinforced from the northwest and moist, warmer air trying to get pushed northward. 

This could mean a bigger storm system could be brewing around that time-frame somewhere in our region. Of course, timing is everything, but it still looks like the weather will be busy the rest of the month.

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The International Space Station will fly over the Miami Valley tonight

Published: Monday, February 12, 2018 @ 6:38 AM

Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini talks about when and where to look for the ISS tonight.

The International Space Station will fly over the Miami Valley Monday evening. The skies should be pretty clear at that point, meaning it will be even easier to see.

>>International Space Station visible tonight

The Station will appear to climb above the horizon in the northwest sky around 6:46 p.m. It will reach 84 degrees which is almost directly over your ahead in the night sky dropping below the horizon in the southeast about six minutes later at 6:52 p.m.

>>Warmer temperatures this week; showers expected mid-week

The ISS will look like a plane or a star in the night sky, but it won't have flashing lights like a plane or twinkle like a star. 

For the latest look at what is going on in the sky visit our SkyWitness7 page! Also, don't forget to post your photos or videos on Facebook or Twitter.

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WINTER STORM ADVISORY, WARNING in effect until 1 p.m. Wednesday

Published: Tuesday, February 06, 2018 @ 3:31 AM
Updated: Wednesday, February 07, 2018 @ 12:02 AM

Snow will spread into the Miami Valley again tonight, with a bigger impact expected on the Wednesday morning commute. Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell has the latest on this storm and it's potential impact on the Valley.
  • Snow arriving overnight; Most will pick up 1 to 3 inches 
  • UPDATE: Winter Storm Warning, 10 tonight through 1 p.m. Wednesday: Clinton, Warren
  • UPDATE: Winter Weather Advisory, 10 tonight through 1 p.m. Wednesday: Butler, Champaign, Clark, Greene, Montgomery, Darke, Preble, Miami, Union (Indiana), Wayne (Indiana)
  • Expect messy morning commute

Graphic created by Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell.

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Tonight: Snow likely after midnight, continuing through the early morning. Snow may mix with freezing rain and sleet near I-71. Temperatures will hold in the 20s. 

>> Snow returns this morning, more on the way

Today: Snow will taper in the morning. Accumulations of 1 to 3 inches expected for Dayton and areas north and west. Amounts as much as 4 to 5 inches possible southeast of Dayton to near I-71. Some ice accumulation, up to two-tenths of an inch possible in the far southern Miami Valley. Skies will remain mostly cloudy into the afternoon with a chance of flurries or light snow showers redeveloping in the early evening. Highs will hold in the upper 20s.

>> School business closings & delays

Thursday: Ready for some sun? Expect partly sunny skies and chilly temperatures with highs in the upper 20s.

>> Winter Weather Awareness: How does salt help melt ice on roads?

Friday: Mostly cloudy skies. Some flurries will be possible in the far northern Miami Valley. Highs will rebound into the upper 30s.

Saturday: Expect mostly cloudy skies with a chance for rain and/or snow showers late in the evening. Highs will be near 40 degrees.

Sunday: Rain or snow showers will be likely in the morning, changing to snow showers in the afternoon as temperatures fall through the 30s. 

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Multiple crashes reported across the region

Published: Sunday, February 04, 2018 @ 1:30 PM
Updated: Monday, February 05, 2018 @ 8:10 AM

A crash involving two semis and an SUV is causing backups on I-75 near Vandalia.

Roadways are ice and snow-covered, and there are numerous reports of slide-offs and crashes across the region.

  • On westbound U.S. 35 just before I-75 in Dayton, a crash with injuries was reported in the left lane around 8:10 a.m. 
  • On Interstate 75 south, between U.S. 40 and Interstate 70, a crash has the right-hand lanes closed at 7:26 a.m.
  • On I-75 north between Ohio 129 and Ohio 63 in Butler County, a crash is reported but traffic is moving at 7:15 a.m. 
  • On northbound Interstate 75 at the 38 mile marker in Springboro, a single-vehicle crash was reported around 5:40 a.m.
  • On westbound U.S. 35 west of Woodman Drive in Riverside, a crash was reported around 5:15 a.m.
  • On the ramp from U.S. 68 to westbound U.S. 35 Bypass,  a semi-tractor trailer jackknifed early Friday morning. The ramp was closed for several hours and reopened around 6:15 a.m. No one was injured.
  • On Grange Hall Road at Dayton Xenia Road in Beavercreek, an adult male was taken to an area hospital after his four-wheeler rolled over on him while he was doing donuts in a parking lot, police said.
  • Southbound Interstate 75 at the 66 mile marker just south of Tipp City reopened around 1 a.m. after at least three vehicles were reportedly involved in a collision. An officer’s cruiser was reportedly involved.
  • Numerous slide-offs have been reported on all area highways

>> Interstate 75 reopens after multi-vehicle crash closes highway; 2 injured

>> WHIO Doppler 7 HD Interactive Radar

“We have seen some rain and with the cold air coming in we are seeing some of that rain freeze over,” said Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Brett Collar. 

Some rain moving through Sunday evening froze over, leading to a thin sheet of ice. Steady snow then fell through the evening.

>> Snow emergencies issued across region

Get the latest on-air and on our WHIO Weather App!

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Accumulating snow expected through Sunday

Published: Saturday, February 03, 2018 @ 3:26 AM
Updated: Saturday, February 03, 2018 @ 10:50 PM

A dry evening is expected in the Dayton area, but accumulating snow returns Sunday.

Snow is expected to move through overnight, but with temperatures close to and even a little above freezing, some rain could mix in as well, Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Brett Collar said. By daybreak everything changes over to snow.


  • 1 to 2 inches of snow likely tonight through Saturday
  • May mix with rain overnight
  • More snow is expected Tuesday
(Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Brett Collar)


Sunday: Snow showers are expected, with the best chance for the accumulating snow earlier in the day. Temperatures will slowly fall through the day, starting in the middle to upper 30s, ending in the 20s. More snow is expected at times in the afternoon and the evening, but is not expected to be as widespread. Most will receive 1 to 2 inches total snowfall; however, some areas could get up to 3 inches.

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Monday: A cold day is expected and it should be a dry day. Partly cloudy skies are on tap with highs in the upper 20s.

>> WHIO Weather App

Tuesday: The chance for more snow returns. Highs will be in the lower to middle 30s.

Wednesday: More snow is likely, especially for the first part of the day. Highs will be near 30 degrees.

Thursday: Partly cloudy skies and colder conditions are expected with highs in the upper 20s.

(Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Brett Collar)

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