LIMA — Holiday traffic may be interrupted by what some are wishing for this Christmas: snow.
Meteorologists are predicting rain for Thursday that will turn into around an inch of snow on the roadways Friday, plus strong winds that may cause visibility issues.
“Another important thing is that there’s going to be winds picking up during the day Thursday and into Friday with gusts of 40 to 50 miles per hour possible,” said National Weather Service of Northern Indiana meteorologist, Courtney Obertfell. “With the inch or two of snow that will be on ground Friday morning, the blowing snow may cause some visibility problems.”
Accuweather.com senior meteorologist Carl Erickson said another factor that will come into play are the low temperatures Thursday night into Friday, creating some slippery spots on roads.
“Thursday, we’ll get a pretty good soaking and that will change over to snow into early Friday morning,” he said Wednesday. “That may create some slick spots on the road. We’re not expecting a lot of snow, probably just a coating to an inch or so. But the big impact will be those slick roads as those temperatures plummet.”
And despite the weather conditions, AAA public relations manager Kimberly Schwind said the organization is predicting year-end holiday traffic to increase.
“The holiday traveling period is actually 11 days and officially starts on Saturday, so the reports I’m hearing say the effects of the storm will only last maybe a day or so,” she said. “So I don’t think that will have a big impact on the numbers.”
Erickson said that the weekend looks relatively dry and quiet, with temperatures looming in the mid-30s and overcast. He said Christmas Eve may bring a rain or snow shower, but no accumulation.
“At this point, I’d probably guess it’s not going to be a white Christmas in the area,” he said. “Even from the snow we will get earlier in the weekend, it will melt by Tuesday.”
And even though holiday travel may be slightly affected due to weather, travelers won’t be complaining about gas prices. With prices dwindling to around $2.91 per gallon locally, many aren’t using gas prices as an excuse for not traveling this year.
AAA predicted that 93.3 million Americans and 3.5 million Ohioans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the period that ends Jan. 1. That is a 1.6 percent increase nationally and a 1.9 percent increase for Ohio from last year.
With holiday traffic expecting to be at a high volume, the Ohio State Highway Patrol encourages travelers to allow extra time to get to their destinations, maintain a safe distance between their vehicles and the traffic ahead, and to pay close attention to bridge and overpasses, as they are most likely to freeze over.
“In case of a vehicle breakdown, motorists should turn on their hazard warning lights, safely position the vehicle as far off the road as possible, call #677 for assistance and remain in the vehicle until help arrives,” said patrol superintendent, Col. John Born.
Troopers also suggest preparing your car for winter driving by ensuring that the battery, cooling system, tires, wipers and defroster are all working.
AAA also recommends having a roadside assistance kit in the car that includes jumper cables, blankets and extra clothes, a flashlight and extra batteries, an ice scraper, safety flares or reflectors, a shovel, a first aid kit, water and nonperishable food, and a cellular phone and charger to call for help.
Furthermore, local law enforcement agencies are cracking down on impaired driving in the next week. The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office said its deputies will be aggressively looking for impaired drivers until Jan. 1.