Winter storm warnings issued ahead of Thursday’s major winter event

This winter storm is coming and confidence continues to grow that lots of freezing rain, sleet and snow will bring life to a halt on Thursday. Today is your last day to gather supplies before this system goes into effect! Thursday is our 9 First Day Weather Alert and this will continue during the Friday morning ride.

A winter storm warning has been issued for all of our counties and it begins at midnight for several of our northwest counties. Elsewhere, the winter storm warning begins at 6 a.m. Thursday.

Here is the only piece of good news I have for you today: Wednesday, it only rains during the day. We will see torrential downpours today with temperatures steady in the mid to low 40s. That means you can get to work, school and more without ice today.

WINTER STORM TIMELINE

Wednesday evening: Rain will be widespread overnight, but northwest locations closer to Connersville, Batesville and Oxford will start to see freezing rain first. It starts between 9 and 11 p.m. and an ice sheet will first form there well before the Thursday morning commute. This is the first region affected. Areas of freezing rain will also advance southeast toward Cincinnati and the I-71 corridor before the morning commute peaks, giving us patchy ice to deal with before sunrise.

Thursday morning: This system intensifies rapidly Thursday morning after 8 am. A regular patch of rain will fall over the region, but with surface temperatures just below freezing, ice will begin to cover everything. It could be several hours in Cincinnati, even further east of I-71. I expect road conditions to become icy quickly between 8 am and noon.

Jennifer Ketchmark

Thursday morning freezing rain

thursday noon: Thursday noon, the roads will go from difficult to almost impassable in the hours that follow. Freezing rain will already cover much of our region, weighing down power lines and tree branches. Heavy sleet will also begin to fall from northwest to southeast. Believe it or not, seeing sleet is probably the best outcome for us. So the longer you have sleet, the better! This reduces the freezing rain and snowfall totals. Some snow will begin to fall in our far northwest areas by noon Thursday, but elsewhere it is sleet and ice.

Thursday noon freezing rain and ice pellets

Jennifer Ketchmark

Thursday noon freezing rain and ice pellets

Thursday night driving: This is the time of day I wouldn’t expect to be on the roads anywhere. We endured hours of freezing rain and heavy sleet. The ice should cover everything. We will probably have power outages at this point too. Stay off the roads and stay safe. Snow continues to accumulate rapidly in our northwestern regions, topping the 4-inch mark or more, but elsewhere it’s persistent sleet and freezing rain.

Thursday afternoon sleet and snow

Jennifer Ketchmark

Thursday afternoon sleet and snow

Late Thursday evening: A transition to snowfall will eventually overcome the rear of this system late Thursday through Friday morning. There is still a lot of variety in the weather patterns when it comes to how much snow we might see. The highest totals are in the northwest with 6″+ expected. But elsewhere it’s hard to say exactly how many. But let’s be honest, at this point it’s just an insult to injury. It’ll be snow on the ice and roads will still be horrible.This is when Cincinnati is most likely to see snow, after 10 p.m.

Snow transition Thursday evening

Jennifer Ketchmark

Snow transition Thursday evening

Friday morning: I expect travel will still be very difficult if not impossible for many on Friday morning. How long the roads stay rough depends on how much snow we get overnight. There is still a great deal of uncertainty in weather models regarding the amount of snowfall the entire region receives. Either way, it’s going to take a long time to clean it all up.

GLOBALLY

The biggest impact of this storm is the ice. That’s the title you need to remember from this. Plan for impassable roads. Be prepared for power outages. Be prepared to stay put for 24 hours.

OVERALL IMPACT

Jennifer Ketchmark

OVERALL IMPACT

MORNING RUSH
The rain begins
Warmer air
Bottom: 42

WEDNESDAY
Likely rain
Stable temperatures
High: 45

WEDNESDAY EVENING
The freezing rain begins
Smooth spots develop
Bottom: 28

THURSDAY
From freezing rain to sleet
Eventual transition to snow
High: 30

THURSDAY EVENING
Switch to snow
Roads almost impassable for many
Bottom: 17
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Joseph K. Bennett