The snow started to fall early Thursday afternoon. However, that was minimum compared to what is expected Saturday.
A winter storm watch will be in effect from tonight through late Sunday night. That means there is the potential for significant snow, sleet or ice accumulations that may impact travel.
Anywhere from 6 inches to 15 inches of snow accumulation between Saturday and Sunday is projected. The weekend temperatures will be in the 20s and teens. And winds could gust as high as 35 mph are possible.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, an Arctic blast with dangerous wind chills will move into the area Sunday through early next week.
It’s no wonder that stores around Norwalk were packed with customers as the first few flakes started to fall, with the bread aisles quickly becoming empty.
Dave Hisey, manager at Miller’s, at 117 Whittlesey Ave., said the store was definitely seeing local residents rush in to stock up on the basic necessities.
Schild’s IGA owners Dave and Marian Schild agreed, adding this is a trend with some snow storms.
“The first big one of the season is when it’s most profound, I think,” said Marian Schild, referring to the urgency of stocking up on essentials. Staples such as milk and bread go quickly.
“And maybe beer and wine too,” she added.
“Maybe more canned goods too but definitely milk and bread,” Dave Schild said. “They also pick up other things, like cold cuts and other items. That’s the way it’s always been.”
So far, the store has been prepared and well stocked.
“We did get low on some things but we had a truck come in from the warehouse,” he said. “Bread and milk come from other vendors. If we have to order more, we just call and they bring more to us. It’s not critical right now. It’s only if it persists and the roads get bad and trucks can’t get in — that’s when it becomes a problem. It’s’ OK right now. And we have a good snow plow company for the parking lot.”
At Ace Hardware, manager Matt Holstein said the business has “definitely seen salt go out and a few shovels” as people get ready to dig out this weekend.
“We’ve really gotten a lot of salt out,” he said.
Holstein said the preparation seems warranted.
“It’s coming. It’s just a matter of time,” he said. “I think they’re prepping themselves. I know I am. I’m going to the grocery store after work, but we’re not going to go crazy and put cases of water bottles in the basement or anything. But we’ll get the basics.”
Local resident Starlett Luna said she stopped at Walmart because “they’re calling for a monster storm.”
Luna said she was just getting the basics — coffee, milk, bread, eggs, cat food and “of course some comfort food.” She said she noticed others were taking more precautions.
“Oh people go into a frenzy,” she said. “You can look at the shelves. They’re getting empty.”
Because Winter Storm Harper is expected to create high snowfall amounts, ice accumulations and bitter cold temperatures that could lead to hazardous road conditions and utility outages, officials with the Ohio Department of Aging urge older adults to prepare for the storm and calls on all Ohioans to check on older loved ones and neighbors.
“An event like Winter Storm Harper presents significant risks for all Ohioans, but older adults can be at increased risk from the storm’s effect,” said Ursel McElroy, director of the department. “Physical changes, isolation and other factors can make older adults more susceptible to weather’s wrath, so it’s important to plan ahead and check in on each other.”
Pet owners also are encouraged to take precautions with their furry friends in mind.