Experts: Bundle up for new winter blast

MARIETTA – Keep the shovels and thick winter coats handy. The polar vortex that gave the Mid-Ohio Valley a taste of sub-zero temperatures just two weeks ago will be serving up seconds this week – this time with a side of snow.

While the polar vortex itself is staying firmly ensconced over Canada, some frigid air has broken loose and is making its way toward the Mid-Ohio Valley, said Kevin McGrath, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston.

“We have a cold front that is going to drop south across the Great Lakes,” he said.

This week’s temperatures are not expected to dip as low as they did Jan. 7, when the area dropped to -4 degrees.

“It should be about 5 to 10 degrees warmer than the last one that came through,” said McGrath.

This time the cold is expected to be accompanied by a fair amount of snow. Four inches are expected by early this afternoon, said McGrath.

After surviving the first round of bitter cold, most area residents say they are prepared the second time around.

“We just stayed inside. We used the hair dryer to unfreeze the pipes,” said Marietta resident Bonnie Marinucci, 55.

Her family also leaves a trouble light lit near particularly cold piping, she said.

Allan Wilkerson, 61, of Marietta is not a fan of the bitter cold, but laughs at all the attention given to four inches of snow.

“I’m from Akron. People down here don’t know what snow is,” he said.

Boston native George Esparza is also used to some bitter cold winters. Esparza, who is fixing up a nearly 120-year-old house in Elba, stayed with a friend during the last cold snap, he said.

“I’m restoring it. I don’t have the heat installed yet,” he said.

Those without heat should definitely find a place to stay this week, said Washington County Emergency Management Agency Director Jeff Lauer.

Additionally they should take precautions around the home.

“Generators shouldn’t be running inside. People need to watch their pipes. You can open the sink drawers so heat can get in there a little better,” he suggested.

Lauer also urged people to pay attention to the local media and adhere to whatever precautionary measures are put in place.

People are still stocking up on some cold weather essentials, but many seemed to take care of their supply shopping before the first cold snap, said Apex True Value manager Rita Stollar.

“That Monday we sold every heater, every heat tape. Everybody was preparing,” she said.

The store is now restocked and ready to supply whatever needs people may have during the new cold front, she said.

While slightly less cold, the new cold snap might be more persistent than the first.

Temperatures are not expected to rise above freezing again until Saturday, and then only barely. Saturday’s projected high is 34 degrees.