With only three weeks of winter left, the season is preparing to go out with a bang.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch through Monday afternoon for Columbiana, Hancock and Beaver counties, as well as the communities of East Liverpool, Chester, New Cumberland and Midland, and surrounding areas.
The heaviest snow, with accumulations of 6 inches or more, is expected to start late this afternoon and continue through Monday morning, said Rihaan Gangat, meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Moon Township, Pa.
"It'll just be a mess in the late weekend and early Monday morning," Gangat said.
The entire weather event, from start to finish, is expected to last 42 hours. "Because it's over a long period of time-it's not a quick event-I'm hoping people will be well-prepared and roads can be cleared for the duration," he said.
Temperatures will reach a high of 29 today and will drop back into the single digits by Monday night, Gangat said.
City, county and township road departments, although weary of the winter weather, professed their readiness for what they hope will be the season's last snowstorm.
"No matter what they throw at me the next 10 to 15 days, I've got it covered," said New Cumberland City Councilman Pat Jones, who also drives the city's snowplow truck.
Jones said the Hancock County seat received another load of 22 tons of road salt about a week ago. "That's plenty for us this time of year," he said.