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Winter Storm Update: Where the snow and ice will fall

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A significant winter storm is beginning to unfold across the Ohio Valley this evening.

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In typical Columbus fashion, the exact line between heavy snow and ice is setting up very close to the metro region. It is important to remember that any minor shift in the track of the low could have huge implications with the forecast. Some minor adjustments have been made since yesterday, but the big picture is still intact.

TIMING: Snow is expected to start this evening after 6:30 p.m. with the heaviest precipitation occurring between 8 p.m. and 3 a.m. Snow may mix with or change over to sleet and freezing rain after midnight depending on where you live. This will transition to light snow early Wednesday morning and taper off by noon.

ACCUMULATION: 3-6 inches of snow for the immediate Columbus metro area with up to 4 tenths of an inch of ice. 6-10 inches of snow north of Franklin County and 2-4 inches of snow with possibly over 1/2” of ice south of Columbus. See the winter storm map for details.

IMPACT: Major impact to area roadways Tuesday night and much of Wednesday. Expect very hazardous travel conditions and numerous school closings for Wednesday. Additionally, areas that see severe icing could experience power outages due to downed trees.

DISCUSSION: Forecast has been adjusted to include slightly less snow for heart of Franklin county compared to yesterday and thus slightly more ice. It cannot be stressed more how tight the gradient will be between snow / ice totals just across Franklin County and thus the potential for minor shifts. Any minor shift could result in a major difference in sensible weather.

Snowfall rates of 1-2" per hour are possible this evening in addition to isolated lightning and thunder.

Regardless of whether you see all snow or a mix, a big impact to travel is likely. Also, areas that see over 1/3” of ice accretion should prepare for isolated power outages. Higher totals over ½” will make power outages even more likely. This zone will be most likely along and southeast of I-71 running south of Columbus.

Another cold air mass will move in for the second half of the week. Lows in the single digits are likely Thursday and Friday mornings. Another storm system is on the horizon for this weekend and may bring light snow again. Stay with examiner.com and Mike Groenke on twitter for the latest winter weather forecasts.

Stay connected with Columbus weather by following Mike Groenke on twitter. For the latest Columbus weather updates, click "subscribe" at the top of this page to receive emails when a new story is posted OR bookmark www.examiner.com/weather-in-columbus

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