LIMA — The adage for weather in Ohio — if you don’t like the weather, give it a day, it will change — is holding true.
The forecast, which originally called for up to 8 inches of snow for our area, has changed. The area can now expect ice accumulations of up to one tenth of an inch and snow accumulations of one to three inches.
The lack of precipitation is due to the jet stream. The heavier precipitation is going to be where the colder air is going to be, and it looks like that means the heavy snowfall will be farther east of us, according to Tom Kines, meteorologist with AccuWeather.
“This means that once it does turn colder, there’s not going to be enough precipitation there to produce seven to eight inches of snow,” said Kines. “It’s more likely a few inches, maybe around four.”
While this is good news for some, the area can still get more snow if the colder air comes sooner than forecasted.
“The one danger with this is that, the colder air once it starts coming in, it’s going to come in rapidly. And if we’re off by just a couple of hours on the arrival of the colder air it’s going to mean a big difference in the amount of snow or ice that we’re going to get. If it comes in two or three hours earlier than what we think, then we’re still going to get a decent amount. But, right now it looks like, if you want the real good stuff, head east or northeast,” said Kines.
Residents won’t have to worry about ice until Friday morning, meaning the trek into work or school could be treacherous.
“Before there’s a change-over to snow, we’re going to have to deal with some sleet or freezing rain. That could certainly make the morning commute a tricky one,” said Kines. “We won’t have to worry about frozen precipitation until after midnight and maybe even until 3 or 4 a.m. Once the cold air starts coming in, there’s nothing stopping it. Temperatures are going to drop quickly and what will be an innocent situation, as in just rain, will turn nasty in a hurry.”
The cold coming in will last into the first half of next week, according to Kines. He suggests residents clear their drives quickly because the colder weather means the snow will harden and will be harder to remove.
The urban legend of Husky Refinery in Lima having anything to do with the weather is just that, an urban legend. Kines said that it’s not just Lima that is not seeing the precipitation that was first predicted, it’s people from southwest Ohio up into Michigan, so no, Husky can’t be blamed for our lack of snow.
Allen County Road Superintendent Daren Leis has been keeping abreast of the weather forecast so his crew can keep the roads in Allen County safe for travel.
“I’m seeing not until the morning hours between 7 and 9 that it is going to start turning to ice. I’m hoping we can somewhat get rid of the ice before the snow starts building on top of it. I’m hoping to clear the ice before the snow actually starts to accumulate too much. Depends on how quick it comes and how quick it changes,” said Leis. “We’ve got all of our trucks ready to roll whenever it comes, and we’re full on salt and material. We just have to wait and see when it comes.”
Leis urges people to take it slow and to drive with caution.
The Ohio Department of Transportation is prepared for the weather conditions as well.
“It’s pretty much business as usual for us. Just with any storm, we’re prepping our vehicles, checking fluid levels and making sure everything is in working order as it should be. All of our salt supplies are in good shape and so just watching the weather forecast like everyone else and listening to our in-house weather folks and national weather service reports and participating in weather updates with them just to see what the latest is,” said Rhonda Pees, public information officer.
Pees said they ask everyone to give the snowplow operators space.
“Just move over and give us room and we’ll all get there safely. Slow down, that’s the main thing, slow down and be careful,” said Pees.
Two Putnam county schools, Miller City-New Cleveland, in Miller City, and SS. Peter & Paul Catholic School, in Ottawa, sent letters home with the students alerting parents of a potential change in a dismissal time due to the weather conditions.
Miller City-New Cleveland sent a text and a note home with students of a possible early dismissal. SS. Peter & Paul Catholic School announced that if an early dismissal is needed, they would dismiss at 1:15 p.m., giving parents time to make arrangements for child care.
Allen East Superintendent Mel Rentschler will be making a drive at 5 a.m. today to decide whether school should be canceled.
“I’m going to hang out and wait and see what I find out tomorrow. I’ll leave at 5 a.m. and be out driving around. I have to make a big prediction tomorrow. If I think we’re going to get stuck, (at school) I’ll just cancel school,” said Rentschler. “It’s a disaster to send kids home early. The problem is we can’t get hold of parents because they work, and I can’t drop a five-year-old off at home without a parent being there.”
Spencerville schools Superintendent Dennis Fuge will be out on the roads early today as well, making a call whether to cancel or to have school.
“I have to make a decision by about 6 a.m. so normally I go out between 4:45 and 5 a.m. I will take into consideration what they’re calling for during the day. I’m not going to bring us in and then at 9 a.m. we get two inches of ice and we’re stuck. Actually all of us superintendents in Allen County have been talking all day about what our thoughts are with different things,” said Fuge. “It’s really a hard decision sometime because you’re never going to make everybody happy, but in our minds we’re going to do what’s safest for the kids.”
Reach Merri Hanjora at 567-242-0511.