Storm fizzles locally

STEUBENVILLE – Area residents woke up to a big surprise today.

The predicted snowstorm fizzled here but still dumped more than a half a foot of snow in parts of Western Pennsylvania.

Lee Hendricks, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Moon Township, Pa., said dry air over the area on Tuesday held back the snow much longer than anticipated. The precipitation was evaporating before hitting the ground, he said. It wasn’t until around midnight that the air was moist enough to allow the snow to fall to the ground, he said.

The snow totals as a result were significantly reduced in the area.

Hendricks said temperatures also stayed relatively warm overnight, allowing for snow to melt on paved surfaces but stick to grassy areas.

The storm was hard to predict from the beginning, Hendricks said.

The National Weather Service during the day on Tuesday had increased the predicted snow totals to 3 to 5 inches range overnight, but on Tuesday evening had started decreasing the snow amounts.

Hendricks said snowstorms usually taper off toward the end, but this storm abruptly stopped.

What snow is out there will quickly disappear as temperatures are expected to climb into the 50s this weekend.