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Hurricane Sandy set to bring rain, wind, snow

Athens will likely see high winds, plenty of rain and even snow as Hurricane Sandy travels inland this week.

The trajectory of the storm’s center steers clear of Ohio through the next five days, though the effects of the storm will still be felt. Experts warn that local residents should be prepared for unusual weather conditions.

The storm will bring two to four inches of rain to the area in the coming week, and snowfall will be likely from Monday afternoon into Tuesday, said Jonathan Wolfe, meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Charleston, W.Va., office.

Winds will also be strong, and the National Weather Service issued a wind advisory for Athens County, predicting possible winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour, with gusts up to 50 miles per hour from noon Monday to 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Damage and power outages will likely be isolated, because the expected wind speeds are slower than previous storms this year, which likely brought down most of the weaker trees already, Wolfe said.

The storm is unusual because it is a hybrid system — a tropical storm that has moved north enough to combine with the cold air that is moving south from the North Pole this time of year, Wolfe said.

“It’s a windy, wet hurricane that combines with the cold air to produce snowfall,” Wolfe said. “The mix is a one-two punch.”

Though Athens likely will see some snow, there will be no significant accumulation, because the soil temperatures are much too high, said Ryan Fogt, an assistant professor of meteorology at Ohio University and director of the Scalia Lab for Atmospheric Analysis.

The high levels of precipitation combined with a dry summer might lead to some flooding in the later part of the week, Wolfe said, but it likely will be isolated if it occurs.

All in all, Athens will miss the brunt of the storm’s force, but Wolfe said residents should still be on their toes for adverse conditions.

“You should always be prepared,” Wolfe said.

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