As much as 2 feet of blowing, drifting snow — maybe more — could be coming to northwestern Pennsylvania over the next few days. And oh yeah, it’s probably going to be really windy, and feel like it’s somewhere around zero degrees — maybe colder.

Believe it or not, that appears to be a slightly tamer version of what the National Weather Service at Cleveland had been forecasting — those same conditions with as much as 4 feet of the white stuff — as of the end of last week.

The weather service’s regional experts on Saturday issued a winter storm watch for Crawford and Erie counties and other surrounding areas that’s in effect today through Wednesday night. Its forecasters are calling for a strong storm system to hit the Lake Erie area late today, carrying very cold air on gusty, northwesterly winds.

That “lake effect machine,” as the NWS called it, is expected to be in full force starting Monday.

But the worst of the worst of it just may stay more to the west of the Cleveland area, Erie’s WICU-12 TV Meteorologist Julie Coates said Saturday.

Using the same computer models that she said were “dead-on” in predicting patterns of the storm system that blasted the region early last week, Coates said it appears that area could be “getting hit harder than we will.”

But, of course, “we’ll have some isolated areas (that get) that foot of snow” or more, Coates said, and around the region, “we’re talking wind chills that are going to be below zero.”

Crawford County Office of Emergency Services Director Allen Clark has advised area residents to prepare early for any coming storms, and to stay prepared. That means dressing for the weather, readying vehicles (and drivers) for possibly hazardous travel, keeping a well-stocked emergency supply kit and preparing homes and family members for possible emergencies.

Clark said OES will remain in close contact with the National Weather Service, area municipalities and other public safety agencies to continue monitoring weather conditions, and is prepared to start officially implementing public emergency plans if necessary.

Especially in the worst of the region’s snowbelt, “changing conditions can happen in a second,” Coates said.

Ryan Smith can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at rsmith@meadvilletribune.com

 

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