Local stores were getting hammered late Saturday afternoon in what one store manager referred to as “the perfect storm.”
“We're getting killed,” said Rick Zeeff, store director of the Mishawaka Meijer on Bremen Highway, while taking a short break late Saturday afternoon. “Two weeks before Christmas, a snow threat and a sale.
“The only way it could be busier is if you tossed in the Super Bowl,” he said. “It's great but I'm whipped.”
Zeeff said customers were stocking up on food staples such as bread, milk and eggs as well as rock salt and car brushes. “We just sold our last snowblower, but I'm hoping to get more,” he said.
A manager at an area Martin's Super Market also reported a large influx of customers on Saturday afternoon stocking in advance of the predicted storm.
The National Weather Service is calling for some areas to receive a foot or more of snow over the next couple of days.
Meteorologist Courtney Obergfell said Michiana could see “near-blizzard conditions” as heavy snow, mixed with wind gusts of up to 50 mph, are expected under the Winter Storm Watch, which is in effect until 1 a.m. Tuesday.
Obergfell said system snow was expected to begin falling early today and last through this afternoon, bringing anywhere from 6 to 10 inches of the white stuff.
There could be a short lull this afternoon before lake-effect snow begins falling sometime this evening and goes until Tuesday morning. An additional 6 to 10 inches of snow is possible, maybe more depending on how the lake-effect bands develop.
Bob Werner, a meteorologist with WSBT-TV, said there will be some strong, sustained winds coming along with the snow. Wind speeds could be 15 to 30 miles per hour with gusts of up to 40 miles per hour, he said. And the wind will likely pick up snow and blow it around creating whiteout conditions.
Driving will be difficult between Michiana and Chicago and up into Michigan, Werner said.
When it's all said and done, he said, total snow accumulation could be between 10 to 20 inches.
Highs are expected to be in the low- to mid-20s today and Monday.
Tribune staff writers Ed Semmler and Kim Kilbride contributed to this report.
WSBT Stormtracker forecast:
- WSBT Stormtracker Radar, click on http://www.wsbt.com/weather/radaranimated/