CLEVELAND — That winter storm we've been telling you about is here - we're currently experiencing blowing snow, gusty winds up to 60 mph and subzero windchill temperatures across our area.
Below is the latest update from News 5 Chief Meteorologist Mark Johnson on the winter storm impacting Ohio:
WATCHES, WARNINGS AND ADVISORIES
The following counties are under Winter Storm and Wind Chill Warnings from 1 a.m. Dec. 23 to 10 a.m. Dec. 24, according to the National Weather Service.
Winter Storm Warning Issued
Blizzard Warning has now been replaced by a Winter Storm Warning until 10 a.m. Saturday.
MAP OF CURRENT WINTER WEATHER ALERTS:
VIEW THE NEWS 5 INTERACTIVE RADAR BELOW:
CURRENT ROAD CONDITIONS
At about 1:30 p.m., Cleveland Police advised motorists to avoid I-90 west when traveling east from Cleveland, as the freeway is very icy on the westbound side of I-90 between Eddy Rd. and East 55th St. Alternate routes include I-217 to I-480.
On the Ohio Turnpike, all lanes eastbound and westbound are blocked at Milepost 106 in Sandusky County due to a massive pile-up involving about 50 vehicles. Turnpike officials say to consider an alternate route, as long delays are expected.
While there are nearly 1,200 crews out right now, conditions are hazardous across the state, and all unnecessary travel should be avoided, according to ODOT officials.
According to the Greater Cleveland RTA:
Due to the extreme temperature drop, RTA rail service is experiencing delays across all service lines. Cold temperatures are causing vehicle and switch issues. RTA crews are on scene working to restore vehicles and service.
Snow emergencies declared
Erie County is under a Level 3 Snow Emergency.
Summit County is under a Level 1 Snow Emergency.
Huron County is under a Level 3 Snow Emergency.
Richland, Summit and Lorain counties have all declared a Level 1 Snow Emergency.
Level 1 means: Roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Roads may also be icy. Motorists are urged to drive very cautiously.
Multiple cities in Northeast Ohio have issued snow parking bans, including:
- Chester Township
Check with your local city's social media accounts and websites for parking ban information.
THREATS AND IMPACTS
With wind gusts as high as 60 mph, wind chill values could be as low as 25 degrees below zero. This could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes.
The NWS warns that travel will be difficult to impossible in some areas, with blowing snow that could significantly reduce visibility. The hazardous conditions could severely impact the Friday morning commute and holiday travel.
A window of brief intense snowfall is possible with the cold front passing Friday morning, which will bring a sharp temperature drop over the matter of a few hours as above-freezing temps Thursday night will drop to single digits by Friday afternoon. A flash freeze is possible with this occurrence and could make it very slick.
Strong winds could cause tree damage, bring down power lines and blow around unsecured objects.
After Friday, expect lake enhanced snow along the lakeshore to continue through most of Saturday and possibly into Sunday.
Snow totals for this event may be in excess of 4 to 6 inches, especially in areas closer to Lake Erie. The models are not entirely clear.
INCOMING STORM TIMELINE
Temperatures will fall rapidly from the 30s and 40s into the teens during the early morning, causing rapid freezing of any water on untreated surfaces.
A brief burst of snow will accompany the cold front. Winds will be around 30-40 mph. Travel will be difficult due to icy road conditions. If you don't have to leave, stay home.
Winds will pick up strength in the afternoon, reaching 50-60 mph. Conditions will worsen as the wind blows snow around and hampers visibility on the roads. Temps will continue to drop into dangerous numbers Friday night into Saturday.
Temperatures will remain in the single digits with wind chills reaching -15 degrees.
High winds up to 50 mph and freezing temperatures are expected to last through Christmas Day.
Have an emergency kit and plan. Have flashlights, extra batteries, first-aid kits, non-perishable food and warm clothing packed and accessible in case you lose power.
Make sure your car has a full tank of gas, the heater is functional and all the fluids have been topped off in case you need to travel in an emergency. Make sure to have jumper cables and a snow brush, as well as a small shovel and kitty litter for if you get stuck and must dig your car out.
Visit our Power Outage page to find links to see current power outages in Northeast Ohio and to report a power outage.
Turnpike bans high-profile vehicles
The Ohio Turnpike has issued a travel ban effective Friday at 6 a.m. for the entire length of the turnpike for certain high-profile vehicles. The ban is expected to expire Sunday at 8 a.m.
Have already been implemented in multiple communities. Check your local jurisdiction.
View our News 5 Traffic Map to see any road closures or delays due to the weather or crashes from the weather.
WARMING CENTERS AVAILABLE
Multiple organizations and municipalities have activated warming centers, with some offering overnight stays and warm food and beverages.
CLICK HERE to read the full list of warming centers available to take shelter in across Northeast Ohio.
Here are some of the closures that have been announced Friday due to the winter storm:
- All Cuyahoga County and Lake County office buildings are closed
- All Lake County government offices
- Portage County Administration Building, Ohio Means Jobs Facility, and the Portage County Records Center.
- All City of Brecksville offices are closed
- The Ashtabula Municipal Court is closed
- Most public libraries
- Cuyahoga Falls Library
- Akron Zoo and Cleveland Zoo
- Cleveland Museum of Natural History
- Cleveland Botanical Garden
- Cleveland Museum of Art
- Holden Arboretum
- Canton Hall of Fame Village Winter Blitz
- Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens
- Mary Cubbard of Hope Food Pantry at St. Rocco's
The show must go on - Playhouse Square confirmed that performances tonight and tomorrow, including "Hamilton," are still scheduled to happen.
The Cavs also confirmed that tonight's game against the Toronto Raptors is still set to be played.
Dozens of flights arriving at and departing from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport have been canceled.
SEND US YOUR PHOTOS, VIDEOS AND REPORTS OF THE WEATHER
Your footage helps us get a better idea of how the storm is impacting the community. Please stay safe — do not put yourself in danger to get a photo or video of severe weather. You can email photos and short videos to firstname.lastname@example.org — please include the time, date and location — and email storm reports and information to email@example.com.
You can also submit information to us via the form on our Contact Us page here. For files larger than 10MB, please utilize a file-sharing service like DropBox or WeTransfer.
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