CLEVELAND, Ohio – Northeast Ohio has suffered the first hours of the major snowfall that Winter Storm Harper brought to the area.
And the boy has delivered it. Between flight delays and cancellations at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport to an accident closing a vital interstate ramp, disruptions caused by snow and wind have been significant.
The kicker? It is far from over. And it will last longer and be more intense than originally thought, bringing even more snow to northeastern Ohio.
"We had to extend the snow a bit more at night," said Mike Griffin, lead forecaster at the National Weather Service in Cleveland. "Originally, we thought it would be done before midnight, and now it will be several hours after that, we'll go up the snow a couple of inches because we're going to see a slightly longer period of snow."
That makes the total estimated snowfall for the Cleveland metropolitan area 8 to 10 inches, with the possibility that some surrounding areas see a foot of snow, according to Griffin.
As Saturday continues, conditions will worsen as each hour pbades. And as the snow rises, the wind will also rise.
"The snow will get even heavier as we head into the night and after dark tonight," Griffin said. "The snow is really going to go down, and the wind is really going to rise, we are already starting to see how the winds are increasing, so we will be gusting at 40 mph at night with very heavy snow, sometimes there will be almost white conditions."
That will make driving even more dangerous than it has been all day. The strong winds will make even the best efforts of the snowplow teams become more difficult as the snow blows into the streets.
"The wind will be the worst enemy when it comes to snow plows and people trying to take care of the roads," Griffin said. "My advice is that if you have to travel, allow a lot of extra time, a lot of space between you and other drivers, and just take it easy."
A reporter from cleveland.com drove on the freeways in the area on Facebook Live for three hours recording scenes from the current road. There were three car accidents and two cars diverted in ditches. Watch the video below for one of Facebook Live broadcasts:
This is what you can expect in three key parts of Northeast Ohio, according to the National Weather Service:
Saturday will end with high temperatures near 30 degrees and winds from 17 to 21 mph. The probability of precipitation is 100 percent, with a total accumulation of snow during the day of 2 to 4 inches.
On Saturday night, the probability of snow remaining at 100% with a new snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches. The winds will blow up to 43 mph. Expect temperatures of around 16 degrees with thermal sensing values as low as zero.
Sunday will remain cold, with a maximum of 17 degrees and thermal sensation values as low as -3. The probability of precipitation decreases to 70 percent with the accumulation of new snow of approximately one inch. Expect it to be windy, with gusts up to 41 mph.
On Sunday night, an inch of new snow is possible, with an estimated precipitation probability of around 70 percent. It will be cold, with low temperatures of around 8 degrees with thermal sensation values as low as -7 degrees. Expect wind speeds of 15 to 21 mph.
Expect the rest of Saturday to continue with a 100 percent chance of precipitation. Winds will blow from the northeast at 11 to 14 mph. The total accumulation for the day will be 3 to 5 inches.
Saturday night will have a 100 percent chance of snow with a new build of 3 to 7 inches. Temperatures will be in teens with north winds of 10 to 20 mph.
On Sunday, the high temperature will be 16 degrees, with thermal sensation values as low as -2 degrees. Expect a new accumulation of snow from 1 to 3 inches with a 90 percent chance of precipitation.
On Sunday night, the probability of precipitation will decrease to 80 percent with the accumulation of new snow from 1 to 2 inches. Temperatures will be cold, with a minimum of 4 degrees and thermal sensation values as low as -8.
Ashtabula / primary snow belt
On Saturday afternoon expect a 100 percent chance of precipitation with a total accumulation during the day of 3 to 5 inches. Winds will blow from the northeast at 10 to 22 mph.
At night, the low temperatures will be around 16 degrees with values of thermal sensation around zero. The probability of precipitation is maintained at 100 percent with the accumulation of new snow from 3 to 7 inches. The winds will be high, up to 40 mph.
On Sunday the cold temperatures will stay, with a maximum of about 17 degrees and thermal sensation values as low as -4. The probability of precipitation decreases to 60 percent with the accumulation of new snow estimated at less than half an inch. Wind gusts can be up to 39 mph.
Sunday night will get even colder, with a minimum of 7 degrees with thermal sensation values as low as -10. The probability of precipitation remains at 60 percent with the accumulation of new snow in less than half an inch.