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Winter Storm Warning: Heavy snow and ice expected

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Did you enjoy the lower 60s yesterday? Keep that memory fresh because Mother Nature is about to throw a shock to your body! A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for all of central Ohio for Thursday night into Friday. Here is the latest:

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Hazards: Heavy snow, sleet, and patchy freezing rain are all likely. Travel will be significantly impacted and may be dangerous at times.

Impacts/Timing: Rain will mix with and change to sleet tonight after 11 p.m. Heavy sleet and patchy freezing rain will persist through much of the overnight period. Sleet will mix with snow towards the morning hours. Heavier precip. will move in by the afternoon and change to all snow. The snow could be very heavy at times making travel very dangerous through the evening.

Forecast Discussion:

An extremely complex weather system is developing and will produce significant winter weather across the entire Ohio Valley tonight and Friday. An arctic cold front crossed the region earlier today and much cooler air is rushing in in the lower levels of the atmosphere. Several thousand feet up, the colder (sub-freezing) air will be slower to move in and create a transition zone of ice between the snow and rain.

If you are heading out on Thursday evening, expect just rain showers. Temperatures will be falling into the 30s so take the coat with you! Enough cold air will filter in after 11 p.m. to start to transition the rain over to sleet. Some of the sleet may be heavy at times overnight and anywhere from 0.10” to 0.30” of sleet accumulation may occur.

*This means that road conditions will begin to deteriorate for the morning commute*

A relative lull is expected during the early morning hours although light sleet and snow may persist. The trickiest part of the forecast is determining exactly where the snow/sleet/freezing rain transition zone will wiggle back and forth between during the morning and early afternoon hours. This will have a large impact on storm total snowfall amounts.

As of Thursday evening, it appears that anywhere from five to eight inches of snow will pile up in Columbus. The less sleet that occurs, the more snow we will see. If sleet lingers longer than currently forecast, then snowfall totals will be at the lower end of that range.

It is recommended that you do not travel anywhere Friday afternoon/evening unless you absolutely need to. Road conditions will very hazardous especially during the peak of the heavy snow between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. Although keep in mind that the roads will likely remain slick through much of the night and into early Saturday.

Another weather system will bring more wintry weather to the region on Sunday. Snow, sleet, and freezing rain are likely, although amounts will be much lighter. Expect potential travel hazards late Sunday afternoon into the evening hours due to the ice. Temperatures will warm above freezing Sunday night changing everything over to just plain rain.

Much colder air filters in for next week.

The full 7-day forecast is attached to this article on the left hand side of the page!

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