The winter storm that affected the Midwest Friday did not spare the people of Columbus, as snow and ice combined to make conditions a quagmire.
The National Weather Service in Valley estimated that 3-4 inches of snow fell in Columbus early Friday morning, followed by a period of freezing drizzle that iced over cars, roads and sidewalks, making walking and driving hazardous. Conditions are expected to remain rough over the weekend, as blowing snow and slick roads will cause problems for drivers in and out of Columbus.
Brian Barjenbruch, a meteorologist for the NWS, said that most reports out of Columbus had the snowfall in the 3- to 4-inch range, with less snowfall to the south and more to the north. Ice soon came, and conditions improved as Friday went on, with temperatures moving upwards around 32 degrees.
“With any luck, we can perhaps do a little bit of melting,” Barjenbruch said Friday afternoon.
The melting ceased Friday night as a cold front came that cooled conditions. High winds and cold air are expected to be prevalent over the weekend and wind gusts are even projected to top the 60 mph range.
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“It’s going to be much colder and very windy,” Barjenbruch said. “You’ll certainly know it when it arrives.”
Saturday’s potential for blowing snow could be blunted by the drizzle that fell Friday, as Barjenbruch said that there was a crust that could block the snow from being blown into the view of drivers and pedestrians.
“If the winds get strong enough, it won’t matter,” Barjenbruch said. “But, at least as long as our winds can stay below 50 miles-per-hour, there will be less blowing snow. The key takeaway is that it’s going to be important for people to plan on some blowing snow.”
For those driving on roadways in and out of Columbus during the weekend, Barjenbruch wants to see them be careful of the possible dangers and give themselves plenty of time while traveling.
“As someone who grew up in that area, it’s just important to plan ahead and be prepared,” Barjenbruch said. “If you do need to travel somewhere, especially with the wind blowing, be ready in case the visibility is reduced if you do come over that next hill.”
Zach Roth is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.