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Snow, ice, blast of arctic to hit region

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    Light snow coats fallen trees along the edge of Mahoning Creek in Mahoning Township Friday morning.

Published January 18. 2019 11:55AM

The first major snow of 2019 is set to hit the area this weekend. meteorologist Rob Richards said snow will begin falling between 1 and 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon and accumulate rapidly throughout the afternoon.

Snow will eventually turn to ice Saturday evening. When exactly that changeover occurs will dictate snowfall totals.

“There are a couple of factors in play when we look at accumulation projections,” Richards said.

“The snow is going to come very fast and, on average for the Times News area, people will see about 4-8 inches. Because you have some higher elevations, however, I wouldn’t be surprised to see those areas get close to or just over a foot of snow.”

Besides location, the timing of the change to ice could increase snowfall totals by an inch or two if the flakes stick around a bit longer.

“The sleet and freezing rain will definitely set in Saturday night and early Sunday morning, totaling probably two-tenths of an inch of ice,” Richards said.

While the elements will subside during daylight hours Sunday, AccuWeather officials suggest getting any snow cleaned up in a hurry, as a blast of arctic air sets in on the region Sunday night.

“To me, the bigger story is going to be the cold that follows the snow,” Richards said. “Sunday night, we’re looking at a low of 1 degree, but it’s going to feel well below zero out there. On Sunday, temperatures should reach 30 in the afternoon, so get anything done before it gets real cold. It’s going to get very dangerous to be outside.”

Monday won’t bring a huge reprieve, as temperatures again are projected to be in the teens. It will finally get a little warmer on Wednesday, with a high of 43 degrees.

As for Thursday night’s quick-hitting snow, Richards said it was almost exactly what forecasters were expecting.

“Just an inch or 2 at most,” he said of the total. “We’ll actually see some sun on Friday afternoon with a high of almost 40. It will be a nice, dry day before the storm of the weekend.”

PPL Electric Utilities officials said they are preparing for Winter Storm Harper and will be ready to respond if the forecast ice and wind produce power outages.

“As the storm moves closer to this area and forecasts are fine-tuned, we’ll be refining our own preparation and response plans,” said Dave Quier, PPL director of operations. “This expected combination of snow, freezing rain and wind is predicted to produce outages,” Quier said. “We’ll have the workers and materials in place to get the lights back on as safely and as quickly as possible.”

PPL urges customers to make sure their phones and other mobile devices are charged, and to prepare and maintain an emergency kit with food, water, medication and any necessary pet supplies.

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