(WJW) – FirstEnergy and AEP meteorologists are closely monitoring the incoming winter storm.

The FOX 8 Weather team has been tracking the winter system to prepare you for the impact of the storm.

The Winter Storm Warning goes into effect at 1 a.m. Friday and is in effect through 10 a.m. Saturday for all of Northeast Ohio.

Wind gusts 60 mph

Wind chills -20 below

1 a.m. Friday – 10 a.m. Saturday

3 to 6 inches of snow (dangerous cold is the biggest threat)

Right now, FOX 8 meteorologists are forecasting a wintry mix with mostly rain Thursday night, followed by what they’re calling a “flash freeze” Friday morning. That means the temperatures are going to take a sharp, sudden drop, which will make the roads dangerous.

AEP outage map

FirstEnergy outage map

“At the first hint of severe weather, we activate a storm response plan which often includes securing additional resources from our sister utilities and contractors so that we can deploy them to the hardest-hit areas, if necessary,” FirstEnergy said in a statement to FOX 8 about how its preparing.

“In addition to having around-the-clock, all-hands-on-deck coverage during severe weather, FirstEnergy’s utilities in northeast Ohio have additional resources on standby to assist our line crews with any potential outages that might occur. For this particular storm, we are most concerned with the potential for sustained, high winds versus snowfall, since we anticipate dry, fluffy snow with this system.”

AEP Ohio crews are preparing equipment and supplies and say people should expect outages because road conditions could delay power restoration.

“We know our customers depend on us to keep the power on — especially during the extreme cold and at a time when many are celebrating the holidays,” said Marc Reitter, president and chief operating officer of AEP Ohio.

AEP suggests people should prepare an emergency outage kit including:

Non-perishable food
Flashlight and fresh batteries
First aid kit
Battery-powered radio
Necessary medications
Fully charged portable charges

Other tips:

  • Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed to preserve food for as long as possible. Consider purchasing bags of ice and placing them inside to help save perishable food.
  • Consider keeping an emergency kit handy with items such as a flashlight, first-aid kit, extra batteries, bottled water, cell phone and car charger and a battery-powered radio.
  • Turn off or unplug sensitive electrical devices to safeguard them from power surges that may occur during the restoration process. Leave an incandescent light on so you know when the power comes back. NEVER OPERATE A GENERATOR INSIDE YOUR HOME OR GARAGE. Exhaust from backup generators contain a high level of carbon monoxide (CO) gas, which can be dangerous or even fatal if inhaled.
  • Do not use candles around pets or small children and never leave burning candles unattended.