A nasty storm working its way across the nation is projected to dump up to 6 to 8 inches of snow across the Mahoning Valley today with gusty, blizzard-like conditions. Another 6 to 8 inches of snowfall could be on the ground by Thursday morning, according to WYTV 33 News meteorologist Paul Wetzl.
The storm was blamed in at least two death as it blasted through the plains states Christmas day, lashing out with sleet, freezing rain, snow and tornadoes.
Wetzl forecast heavy, wet, snow in the range of 6 to 10 inches beginning this morning in Columbiana County. Visibility will be a quarter mile or less, with wind gusts up to 35 mph, Wetzl said. Mahoning and Trumbull Counties will soon follow, with totals in Trumbull County predicted in the 10 to 14 inch range accompanied by 40 mph wind gusts, he said.
According to the National Weather Service, the Warren area will see widespread blowing snow throughout the day, with 4 to 8 inches accumulation possible today, and another 2 to 4 inches possible overnight.
The winter storm warnings are in effect through Thursday morning.
"When the local area is hit with exceptional snow totals, the culprit is generally winter storms that approach from the south. Laden with moisture, these storms can blanket the entire area with heavy, wet, snow where lake effect storms tend to spare areas south of mid-Trumbull County," according to Wetzl.
In the middle states, conditions were volatile throughout Tuesday afternoon and into the night, with tornado warnings in Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. The storms were blamed for two deaths, several injuries, and left homes from Louisiana to Alabama damaged.
In Mobile, Ala., a tornado or high winds damaged homes and knocked down power lines and large tree limbs in an area just west of downtown around nightfall, said Nancy Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Mobile County Commission. WALA-TV's tower camera captured a large funnel cloud headed toward downtown.
"We haven't verified what it was, but we have an area that we heard has damage to homes," she said.
Meanwhile, blizzard conditions were hitting the nation's midsection.
Earlier in the day, winds toppled a tree onto a pickup truck in the Houston area, killing the driver. Icy roads already were blamed for a 21-vehicle pileup in Oklahoma, and the Highway Patrol says a 28-year-old woman was killed in a crash on a snowy U.S. Highway near Fairview.
The snowstorm that caused numerous accidents pushed out of Oklahoma late Tuesday, carrying with it blizzard warnings for parts of northeast Arkansas, where 10 inches of snow was forecast. Freezing rain clung to trees and utility lines in Arkansas and winds gusts up to 30 mph whipped them around, causing about 71,000 customers to lose electricity.
Blizzard conditions were possible for parts of Illinois, Indiana and western Kentucky with predictions of 4 to 7 inches of snow.
Read more in the Wednesday Tribune Chronicle.