November 20, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
24°F
test

Storm expected this weekend

ELYRIA — With Christmas looming around the corner, it’s pretty likely that nearly all of us have something we need to get done this weekend.

But guess what? The weather might just play havoc with those plans as it’s supposed to get bad — really, really bad, if the predictions for sleet, freezing rain and heavy snow are to be believed.

“The thing is that we just don’t know right now,” Lorain County Emergency Management Agency Director Tom Kelley said. “It’s very dependent on the track of the storm.”

Kelley and emergency workers in about 30 other Ohio counties were told at 2 p.m. Thursday by the National Weather Service in Cleveland to brace for a major winter storm.

That notification in and of itself is foreboding — the weather service uses its conference warning system only about once a year. The last time it was used?

That would be Valentine’s Day 2007, when the county was buried beneath about 11 inches of snow. Nearly everything was forced to close — even Ford Motor Co.’s Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake.

The weather service fired up the warning system this time because a bad storm is brewing to the south and is expected to plod across the Ohio River basin toward Pittsburgh, forecasters warned.

If it moves far enough north, snow will start falling here about 7 a.m. Saturday and continue through Sunday afternoon, Kelley said.

Former weather spotter Ray Diederich, who worked with the National Weather Service for 38 years, has been keeping an eye on the developing storm system.

“There’s a good flow of moist air down in the South, and it could carry a whole lot of water. If it hits enough cold in this area, we could get dumped on,” he said.

But that’s not the end of it.

Forecasters think the wind will shift direction late Sunday and start blowing from the north, causing major drifting across the county’s roads, Kelley said.

Kelley will decide today whether the storm is threatening enough to arrange special transportation for doctors, nurses and other emergency workers.

Meanwhile, a flood warning for the Black River in Carlisle Township and Elyria remains in effect.

The National Weather Service is saying water levels could rise by about 5 inches, flooding low points on Ford Road and behind the Elyria Country Club.

Contact Jason Hawk at 329-7148 or jhawk@chroniclet.com.