Bellbrook-Sugarcreek region prepares as winter storm predicted to hit Miami Valley

by Madi Brown

The National Weather Service’s forecast for snow in our region.

On the evening of Wednesday, February 2, 2022 a winter storm warning is set for most of southwest and central Ohio. The storm is predicted to bring a quarter to half inch of freezing rain, followed by various amounts of sleet and snow.

WHIO Channel 7’s chief meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs has been working hard all week to inform the Miami Valley region and continuously forecast this weeks storm, saying, “We have a ton of warm air leading into this system and as the cold air comes in from the northwest, it’s pushing against it. We start to transition from rain, to freezing rain, to sleet, then over to snow. Our biggest concern in this system is the potential for ice.”

Vrydaghs continues, “We are looking at a significant potential for icing and that could lead to power outages and obviously travel hazards. When you have at least a quarter of an inch of ice potential or higher, that adds so much weight to our power lines that we likely could see several areas of outages across our area.”

“When there are multiple types of perception in a storm like this, there are a lot of things you have to consider; when does the cold air get here and when do you have that transition over? The longer it takes [the transition] it increases the potential for ice and also cuts down on snowfall totals. If the change happens faster then it is the vice-versa situation with more snow.”

Dayton Weather Spot, a popular forecasting and weather Facebook page for southwest Ohio and surrounding areas, has been keeping followers updated throughout the week. Dan the Weather Man notes, “At this time, details are just details. Does it matter if you’re dealing with heavy snow, heavy sleet, or heavy freezing rain? We’re going to be dealing with something nasty unless all models are extremely wrong. So it’s time to prepare now. Go get stuff to make French toast, or whatever it is you feel you need to do. Be SENSIBLE! Don’t buy three generators when you probably won’t need one. If you’ve been thinking about getting one for a long time, and have been waiting for an excuse, well, do your thing, whatever that is.”

Dan, the head of Dayton Weather Spot, posted this model as his most recent prediction for the winter storm.

“It’s been like this all week, and we are all expecting it to get worse into today,” said Costco employee, Sarah. Stores have been packed all week with fears of severe weather and hazardous traffic conditions, limiting travel and access to groceries and supplies. However, even if conditions are bad, this isn’t a long term event. Worse case scenario, travel conditions will only be impeded for two days and roads should be cleared by the weekend.

The Cornerstone Costco check out lines fill to the back of the store on Wednesday morning. Picture by Madi Brown.

Sugarcreek Township’s Administrator Barry Tiffany is prepared for any winter weather outcomes. “Our trucks are ready, all of our guys are ready, and we are loaded up with salt and beat juice. We’ve had a weather briefing with The National Weather Service and they have shared their predictions with us.”

Along with road maintenance, Tiffany is prioritizing citizens in Sugarcreek Township in the event of mass power outages. “Our first priority with power outages is to make sure people who are reliant on electricity with medical conditions needing oxygen machines, for example, can contact us. We can get them any available generators and set them up. We will also be operating our building on Ferry Road as an emergency shelter for people that don’t have heat in their homes as it’s going to get very cold.”

“Additionally, if anybody needs anything, please feel free reach out to the Township at our number, 937-848-8426.”

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