UPDATE: 5 p.m.
Jennifer Edwards Baker and Janice Morse report:
Forecasts have been “fine tuned,” and are now calling for the predicted snowfall to arrive a little a later than first expected, said Andy Latto, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, Ohio.
A winter storm warning, which had been in effect for much of Greater Cincinati and Northern Kentucky starting at 11 a.m. today, has been delayed until 6 p.m. today. That’s because meteorologists now think heavier snowfall likely won’t arrive until 8 p.m. or later, Latto said. The Weather Service sent out alerts changing the advisory time around 3:30 p.m.
Still, the forecast calls for a major blast of winter weather that could bring the biggest snowfall of the season to Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.
The warning, now in effect from 6 p.m. today until 1 p.m. Wednesday, calls for areas of rain mixing with snow before changing to all snow late tonight.
The storm will pack a heavy mix of 3-6 inches of snow, sleet and ice, with most of the accumulation falling as snow, the Weather Service said.
The highest levels will sock Butler and Warren counties.
The commute home from work should be OK, but late tonight and the morning commute Wednesday will be a much different picture.
The storm is already affecting local travelers. Impending winter weather in the Chicago area has canceled a handful of flights to CVG and more than a dozen departures to the Windy City, according to cvgairport.com.
As of 8:25 a.m., flights scheduled to leave earlier in the day from CVG to Chicago and Minneapolis were canceled.
Flights later this morning and afternoon to Chicago and Madison, Wis., have also canceled. A handful a flights to Newark, N.J. scheduled to depart at 8 a.m. were delayed.
United Airlines, Copa Airlines, Scandinavian Air, and US Airways listed cancellations to CVG between 9:56 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. About 25 flights expected to leave CVG after 7 a.m. for Chicago were canceled.
A winter storm warning is in effect from 11 a.m. today until 1 p.m. Wednesday for most of the region: Hamilton, Clermont, Butler and Warren counties in Ohio; Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties in Kentucky and Dearborn and Ripley counties in southeastern Indiana.
Motorists are advised to “only travel in an emergency,” according to the weather service.
- Cincinnati.com’s weather page with interactive radar, 7-day and hourly forecasts & more!
- National Weather Service: West Chester 7-day forecast
- AccuWeather.com: West Chester extended forecast
Road crews prepping
Cincinnati road crews already have pre-treated main thoroughfares and residential streets in preparation for the storm, city officials said Tuesday morning.
“We are preparing for a significant snowfall,” said Sharon Smigielski, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Transportation’s District 8 Office in Lebanon, which is responsible for plowing Butler, Clermont, Hamilton and Warren counties.
Nearly 100 plows will be out clearing those areas, she said: 18 in Butler, 24 in Clermont, 35 in Hamilton and 20 in Warren.
“We will have crews out around the clock until it’s over with. Originally the forecast wasn’t calling for this much snow to hit Cincinnati, so it seems like it is showing it might hit us a little more.”
ODOT didn’t pre-treat highways with brine or salt due to the overnight rain.
“You have to pre-treat 24 hours to 48 hours before a snow event,” she said. “The rain just washes that away, so it would be a waste of resources.”
She urged motorists to try to stay in early Wednesday or give plow drivers plenty of room on roads so they can properly do their job.
“It’s always helpful if our trucks aren’t sitting in traffic. They can’t plow and they can’t salt if they are stuck in traffic like everyone else. If people do need to get out to their jobs, travel for the conditions of ice and snow. Take it slow. Try not to follow our trucks too closely or pass our trucks.”
Road crews from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet were prepping snow plows Tuesday and getting ready for a long night, said Nancy Wood, cabinet spokeswoman.
This morning’s crews have been told to plan on staying on this afternoon, she said.
The system will begin as a bit of rain this morning. It’s 37 degrees with a wind chill of 29 at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.
Scattered showers will sprinkle down throughout the day as the temperature climbs to 40.
This storm could produce the biggest snowfall of the season, Snyder said.
So far this winter, our region has seen 17 inches of snow. The biggest snow event so far was 3.6 inches on Dec. 28-29, Snyder said.
Normally at this point in the winter season, 19.1 inches has accumulated.
Tired of frigid temperatures, sleet and snow?
A big change in the forecast is just a few days away.
Spring-like temperatures with day-time highs in the upper 50s are expected by Saturday.
Next week, the mercury could push into the 60s.