The National Weather Service office in Cleveland is projecting as many as seven inches of snow across north central Ohio with smaller amounts to the south.

Winter storm projections for later this week are coming into focus.

And it’s not a pretty picture at this point with as many as seven inches of snow possible by Friday.

When National Weather Service forecasters start throwing around phrases like “potentially high impact winter storm” and “long duration winter storm,” it’s time to keep an eye on the skies.

It’s still early in the forecasting process. Lots of models being examined by the NWS. The picture will become clearer in the next 24-48 hours. But here is what the forecasters are saying this morning:

The system, fueled by moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, will start as rain late Tuesday night and into Wednesday with temperatures staying above freezing. The high on Tuesday will reach 43 before temps begin to dip.

The area could see a half-inch of rain before it changes to a wintry mix or snow later Wednesday.

Heaviest precipitation will likely occur Wednesday night through Thursday evening, which will likely be snow northwest of I-71 and a wintry mix southeast of I-71.

Snow impact

The low Wednesday night will be around 26 and it will top out Thursday around 28.

The NWS office in Cleveland said Monday morning that the exact storm track, timing, precipitation types, and amounts still remain highly uncertain. But the heaviest snow, if it comes, will fall on Thursday.

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