COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A blast of arctic air will have a major impact on travel across Ohio late tonight and Friday, accompanied by brutally cold winds and wind-driven snow tonight.
Blizzard conditions will occur northwest of the storm path across the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes, where a significant snowfall of 3-6 inches is expected. One to three feet of snow will fall downwind of the lakes in the favored lake-effect zones.
Central Ohio will receive a coating of snow (1-3 inches) overnight. High winds will bring a risk of power outages, as temperatures tumble to near zero, resulting in a flash freeze of moisture on pavement and power lines.
A Winter Storm Warning is in effect tonight and Friday along and northwest of Interstate 71, and a Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for the southeastern part of the state.
A Wind Chill Warning reflects the dangerous wind chills expected Friday below -20 degrees, and frostbite can occur in minutes if you are not properly protected in layers.
A mild southerly flow ahead of low pressure will initially bring periods of light rain, with temperatures in the low 40s.
Low pressure will strengthen over northern Indiana, causing winds to increase with the approaching arctic boundary closer to midnight.
Rain will turn to snow in central Ohio shortly after midnight, accumulating 1-2 inches by daybreak on Friday. Blowing snow and a flash freeze will compound travel problems, coating roads and sidewalks with a thin sheet of ice.
Temperatures will plummet to the single digits and near zero, accompanied by dangerous wind chills of -15 to -25 degrees. Wind gusts will range as high as 40-50 mph.
Snow showers will rotate southward behnd the departing storm moving into southeastern Canada. Only light additional accumulations (1 inch or less) are expected, as bitterly cold air picks up moisture from the relatively mild Great Lakes.
Morning temperatures on Saturday will hover near zero, with wind chill values of -10 to -25 degrees. Afternoon temperatures on Christmas Eve will struggle to reach 10 degrees, under mostly cloudy skies.
Winds will slacken by Christmas Day, but temperatures will be very cold, starting off near 5 degrees and rising to the low teens, under partly cloudy skies.