This weekend will likely see many breaking out the winter gear as cold air and the season’s first major snow accumulation is on the way.
Today, snow flurries are expected across the northern portion of Ashtabula County, with the most snow expected to fall between Erie, Pennsylvania and Buffalo, New York, according to the National Weather Service in Cleveland.
“Northeast Ohio is on the fringes of the snow bands,” said Kirk Lombardy, a meteorologist with the NWS in Cleveland. “As we get into the weekend, an Alberta Clipper system will affect all of northern Ohio, bringing four or five inches of snow.”
But that’s not all.
Lake effect snow is right behind the clipper and with it, more snow for the snow belt, he said.
In addition, temperatures will drop below freezing during the day and into the teens at night, according to the NWS forecast.
At Kelly’s Gardens and Landscaping in Saybrook Township, co-owner Chris Mramor said she expects brisk Christmas tree and wreath sales, as snow often gets people in the Christmas mood.
“We have been busy for this early in the season, but I think we will be even busier,” she said.
A big snow event is something the Ohio Department of Transportation prepares for weeks in advance, said Justin Chesnic, ODOT spokesperson.
“We will pre-treat the roads and we will have our snowplows out on all state and U.S. roads,” he said. “We have 25 crews ready to work around the clock.”
Ashtabula City Manager Jim Timonere said the equipment is ready and the salt dome has been stocked.
“We have been out twice this year just to salt the roads when we dropped below freezing with rain and the little snow we did get to date,” he said. “A reminder to residents — parking bans will be in place if accumulations are over three inches. The goal is to hit all streets within 24 hours after the snow stops. We have not started third shift yet, but we will be on call if and when it comes.”
Amir Garakouei, superintendent of the Ashtabula County Highway Department, said his crews are always ready to battle snow.
“We got the forecast and our guys are ready,” he said.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol reminds motorists to be safe especially while driving in winter weather.
“Slow down and give yourself lots of room from the vehicle in front of you,” said Sgt. Chris Thayne of the OHP Ashtabula Post. “Don’t be in a hurry. Give yourself plenty of time.”