A storm that dumped several inches of rain in Texas will head east, hitting central and southern Ohio starting Friday.
The widespread storm, which is expected to dump 6 or more inches of snow in parts of Stark and Wayne counties, prompted the National Weather Service in Cleveland to issue a winter storm watch for the area. Fifty-three Ohio counties are under severe weather watches, advisories or warnings due to the approaching storm system.
The Weather Service is predicting a 50 percent chance of snow for the Akron area Friday that increases to 70 percent overnight and into Saturday. Snowfall amounts should be less north of the Canton area, with the heaviest amount of precipitation expected to fall south of U.S. Route 30.
An inch of snow is predicted for the Akron area Friday. The Weather Service gave no estimated weekend snow totals for the area.
Computer models are remaining consistent, showing that northern Ohio, including Summit, Portage and Medina counties, will miss the full blast of the storm, said meteorologist Walter Fitzgerald of the National Weather Service Forecast Office.
''It's always a possibility [the line will move north,] but as it sits right now, everything looks the same,'' he said.
The forecast for Friday indicates precipitation might begin in the watch area with a brief mix of sleet or rain and change over to all snow that could be heavy at times.
Most locations in the affected area will see about 5 inches of snowfall by daybreak Saturday. There is a potential for locally higher amounts near and south of a line from Mount Gilead to Canton, the Weather Service predicts.
The majority of precipitation from the storm is expected to fall farther east, with the heaviest snowfalls expected in the mountains of West Virginia, Virginia and along the Pennsylvania/Maryland border, where up to a foot of snow is forecast.
Temperatures in the Akron area are expected to plummet by the weekend, from a high of 35 degrees today to a low of 13 degrees Saturday night.
Kathy Antoniotti can be reached at 330-996-3565 or firstname.lastname@example.org.