By MARK TODD - firstname.lastname@example.org
Baby New Year needed to be bundled in a parka and snowshoes to officially usher 2014 into Ashtabula County.
Residents awoke today to snow alerts and bitterly cold temperatures — which combined to knock the “happy” out of Happy New Year for many.
The region has been slapped with a winter storm watch that won’t expire until Thursday morning, according to the National Weather Service. Upwards of four inches of snow could fall today, followed by more snow this evening and Thursday, says the NWS.
Temperatures, meanwhile, won’t come anywhere near the freezing mark over the next few days. Today’s high will barely break the 20-degree mark, dropping back into the teens this evening. More of the same is expected Thursday before high temperatures nose-dive on Friday, settling in the 10-15 degree range.
A large swath of the U.S., stretching from Iowa to the Atlantic coast, will see a brutal start to the new year, thanks to a series of snow storms, according to AccuWeather.com. Snow could hamper travel plans for the tail end of the holiday season, according to the weather website.
Locally, county residents said farewell to a December that was a real roller coaster, weather-wise. Northeast Ohio saw high temperatures that climbed to 63 degrees on Dec. 5 and Dec. 22, but also plummeted to 8 degrees on Dec. 12. Overall, the average temperature for the month was 32.4 degrees, just 0.1 degree below normal, according to the NWS.
Snow was nearly a constant all month, with white stuff recorded on 26 of the month’s 31 days. Through Monday, nearly 15 inches of snow had been recorded by the NWS’ Cleveland office. Weather-spotters in Ashtabula County have logged larger amounts.