Freezing rain is expected this afternoon


By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

After the coldest February on record, followed by 6.8 inches of snow to start March during the winter that seems like will never end, you’d think Mother Nature would finally cut the Mahoning Valley some slack.

Think again.

It will be warmer today, but there also is freezing rain in the forecast.

The freezing rain will start about 1 p.m. and stop about 4 or 5 p.m., said Eric Wilhelm, chief meteorologist for 21 WFMJ-TV, The Vindicator’s broadcast partner.

“We’ll get a small accumulation of ice to cause slick travel,” he said. “It’s not a crippling ice storm, but it will be slick. There’s an outside chance of downed tree limbs falling on power lines. It will get slick, so people should be careful, particularly midday.”

There could be about a half-inch of sleet accumulation today, according to the National Weather Service.

It will turn to rain after that with temperatures in the mid- to upper 30s.

The area could get a couple of inches of snow late Wednesday and overnight with the temperature dropping to about 10 degrees, Wilhelm said.

The unseasonably low temperatures will be back Thursday with a high in the teens and the low dropping to about zero Thursday night, he said.

The average high for this time of the year is 40 to 41 degrees.

Friday, with a high in the 20s and sunny, “is a better day,” Wilhelm said.

That temperature isn’t so bad in comparison to what we’ve experienced, he said.

The average temperature for February was 13.7 degrees, the lowest temperature for that month in the area at least since 1897, when weather information first was collected.

It was the area’s second-coldest month, with 10.2 degrees in January 1977 being the record low.

The average snowfall for the entire month of March in the Valley is 10.9 inches. The area got 6.8 inches of snow Sunday, according to the weather service, which measures temperature for the region at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport.

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