Heavy snow is expected to hit Portage County tonight and last through Wednesday, the National Weather Service announced Sunday.

A winter storm will affect the whole area Monday into Wednesday with widespread snow, and is expected to drop 5 to 9 inches of snow.

Additional lake-effect snow will likely impact the area Tuesday night into Wednesday.

Temperatures are expected to drop into the mid-20s.

The snowstorm is expected to affect all of Lorain, Medina, Summit, Trumbull and Portage counties, including the cities of Lorain, Medina, Akron, Ravenna and Warren.

A winter storm watch is also in effect from Monday afternoon through Wednesday evening.

Difficult driving conditions with very poor visibility and snow covered roads are to be expected.

Northerly winds of 10 to 20 mph with gusts up to 35 mph are also to be expected.

According to the weather service, a winter storm watch is issued "when there is a potential for significant snow, sleet, or ice accumulations that may impact travel."

There's a 100 percent chance of precipitation Monday night, with 2 to 4 inches of snow expected. An additional 5 to 9 inches is expected Tuesday.

Wednesday night snow showers are likely, mainly before 8 p.m. By Thursday, the temperature should reach about 30 degrees.

The American Red Cross recommends filling up vehicle gas tanks and making sure the windows of homes and apartments are insulated from the cold weather. Pets and other animals should be brought indoors or into shelter.