The National Weather Service has revised its snowfall totals for tonight's winter storm - creating a mix of good and bad news. The good: Columbus could see as little as 3 to 4 inches of snow Downtown. The bad: As much as one-third inch of sleet or freezing rain likely will fall on top of it.
The National Weather Service has revised its snowfall totals for tonight’s winter storm — creating a mix of good and bad news.
The good: Columbus could see as little as 3 to 4 inches of snow Downtown.
The bad: As much as one-third inch of sleet or freezing rain likely will fall on top of it.
The forecast had originally called for up to 10 inches of snowfall for central Ohio, with the icy mixture well south of the city.
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An initial “burst of snow” is expected to hit the city shortly after 6 p.m. tonight — thick, heavy clumps, said meteorologist Andrew Snyder.
Northern Franklin County could see up to 5 inches of snow. The southern parts of the county might see just 2 inches.
Regardless of the mix, by morning, “It’s going to be a mess,” Snyder said.
American Electric Power has been moving contractors who assess storm damage to southern Ohio, where ice was originally predicted. It might alter their position based on new forecasts, said spokeswoman Terri Flora. “We will make sure crews move to areas where anticipated problems might be. Any icing is never good. It’s the heavier stuff that concerns us the most.”
Most power lines are able to withstand up to one-half inch of ice.
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Despite the lower snowfall amount, the ice could be troubling for some cities’ road crews and their dwindling salt reserves; school districts low on calamity days, and commuters who were hoping that January’s brutal weather was in the rearview mirror.
A storm that skipped central Ohio yesterday hit areas south and east of Columbus. In all, 6 to 8 inches of snow fell across those areas, causing some schools, businesses and governments to shut down.
The weather service also has issued a flood watch for southern Ohio running through Wednesday because up to an inch of rain is expected on top of the snow that has fallen there.
In Athens, county offices remained closed all day yesterday, and Ohio University canceled classes. City offices there were closed until noon.
By midday, the streets in Athens were clear, and a bright sun shone on dwindling piles of dirty slush and snow, bringing the temperature up to a few degrees below freezing.
Ohio University students Alicia Hamon, Mattie Ropelewski and Caroline Bartels said they were using their time off to prepare for exams.
“I was up studying for a test that I was supposed to have, which I wasn’t quite ready for,” said Ropelewski, a junior from Medina, in northeastern Ohio.
As many as 8 inches of wet, heavy snow fell yesterday in Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey, too, according to the National Weather Service. That resulted in delayed and canceled flights between Columbus and those cities.
Air traffic is still disrupted today, with flights from Port Columbus to New York, Boston, Chicago and Washington, D.C., among those canceled.
Though Ohio’s salt reserves took a hit last month, the Ohio Department of Transportation said it now has enough and can resume helping municipalities in need. Agency officials had said they did not have enough to share.
“If a community has a dire need, we’re going to work with them to get through this winter,” said Steve Faulkner, ODOT spokesman.
Yesterday, central Ohio snow crews were being told to rest and prepare for today.
Some forecasts say February could be colder and snowier than usual.
Chris Bradley, meteorologist at WBNS-TV (Channel 10), said this week’s high temperatures will be in the 20s, but the lows will be in the single digits by Wednesday night and near zero on Thursday.
Bradley said an early check of weather patterns is showing yet another snowstorm arriving this weekend.
Dispatch correspondent Jim Phillips contributed to this story. Information from the Associated Press also was used.