The Mid-Ohio Valley will likely escape the worst of a nasty weather system that has already dumped more than two feet of snow in some areas to the west.
But area officials will be keeping a close watch on the storm-dubbed Winter Storm Cleon-which is expected to teeter between rainfall and snowfall throughout the weekend. Thursday's rainy weather (1.12 inches) is expected to continue into today and build into a wintry mix by tonight, said Joe Merchant, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston, W.Va.
"(Friday) night on the back side of the first weather system that comes through, you'll start to see a gradual change first to a mix of snow and precipitation and then all snow at the tail end," he said.
A pedestrian shields herself from the rain Thursday in downtown Marietta. The rain is expected to continue throughout the day today and turn into a snowy mix by tonight.
JASMINE ROGERS The Marietta Times
Still, the weather service is only predicting one to two inches of snow for the area, and whether things turn icy will depend on how cold it gets and for how long, added Merchant.
American Electric Power is not anticipating an ice storm in Southeastern Ohio which is expected in some surrounding states, said AEP Ohio spokeswoman Suzanne Priore.
"Our meteorologists on staff are closely monitoring the weather situation and as of right now we're not anticipating significant issues," said Priore Thursday afternoon.
Friday-High: 39, Low: 28, rain throughout the day with snow and sleet likely between 10 p.m. and midnight and then a chance of snow after midnight.
Saturday-High: 32, Low: 21, a slight chance of snow before noon and mostly sunny throughout the day.
Sunday-High: 32, Low: 32, early afternoon snow and fleet will likely turn to freezing rain and sleet after 4 p.m.
Source: National Weather Service.
As is always the case when a weather situation is being actively monitored, AEP has line and contract crews on standby in case an issue should arise, she added.
Washington County Engineer Roger Wright said it is hard to know what to expect from such an indecisive storm.
"If it all turns to snow we might have a lot of snow to clear, but they're not saying that it will be all snow at this point," he said.
If Washington County's roads are snowy or icy, the trucks are stocked with salt, equipped with plows, and ready to be deployed, said Wright.
The Washington County Engineer's Office will also be keeping an eye on areas where flooding might occur.
The National Weather Service has a flood watch in effect for the area through early Saturday.
"We've got high water signs...We communicate with the sheriff's office about problem areas and if there is one we go put a sign out," Wright said.
A small stream connected to Duck Creek was out of its banks at Selena Erb's Caywood Road home Thursday afternoon. When Duck Creek floods, it often covers Caywood Road and the Erbs cannot get a vehicle out of their driveway, said Erb.
"We normally pull a car out to one of our neighbors' properties so we can have it out if we need to get to work," she said of the family's game plan when they expect flooding.
The storm did prompt the postponement of Marietta's Christmas tree lighting ceremony, which was originally scheduled for today at 5:30 p.m.
"Mostly the kids like the ceremony and we thought a lot of people wouldn't want to bring the kids out in the pouring down rain," said Marietta Mayor Joe Matthews.
The ceremony is now scheduled for Saturday at 5:30 p.m., when there is no precipitation forecast.
Saturday is expected to be mostly dry, said Merchant, but a second storm system moving in from the south will mean another round of mixed precipitation on Sunday.
"Sunday's precipitation will depend on the temperature. Probably north of (Marietta) will be more snow and south will be more rain," said Merchant.
Saturday night will see the coldest temperatures-dipping into the teens, he said.
"Then you warm back up to around freezing by noon on Sunday," he added.