LIMA — Many area counties issued road snow emergencies Saturday after overnight snow that, when paired with wicked winds, left near white-out conditions that made it difficult to see your way.
These conditions led to multiple crashes on major highways, including Interstate 75. The Ohio State Highway Patrol responded to several crashes in the Bluffton area Saturday, with two of them resulting in transportation to a hospital.
At 10 a.m. several commercial vehicles jackknifed on the interstate, ending up in median. Northbound traffic was forced to attempt to slow, with several vehicles sliding off the road. One truck, driven by Hao Liu, 56, of Cincinnati, slid off the right side of the highway, ending up in the ditch on its left side. Liu was injured on his left side and was taken to Blanchard Valley Hospital, where he was treated, then released.
A 2012 International truck slid into the median. The driver, Lydia Kumm of Curwensville, Pa., was unharmed. After the crash, a 2009 Suburu Outback, driven by Kim Broomhall, 56, of Kettering, slid into the rear of the truck. Broomhall was injured, stating pain in her neck and back. She was taken to Blanchard Valley Hospital, where she was later released.
With the current forecast, the possibility of additional crashes is strong. There is a winter weather advisory in the area, as 2 to 5 inches of snow is expected over the weekend. High winds will make the temperatures feel even colder and make it difficult for road crews to clear them.
Area advisories include:
•Allen County: Level 2 roadway advisory as of 4:15 p.m Saturday. Blowing and drifting snow decreases visibility. Use cautious if you must be out.
•Auglaize County: Doesn’t issue roadway advisories, but the Sheriff’s Office warns of limited visibility.
•Hardin County: Level 2 snow emergency as of 3:10 a.m Saturday. Snow on the roads is drifting because of high winds. Only travel if you feel it necessary to do so.
•Mercer County: Level 2 snow alert for unincorporated areas. Roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow and becoming impassable.
•Putnam County: Level 2 snow advisory in effect until noon Sunday. Blowing and drifting snow on county roads make travel difficult. Wind will make it hard for snow plows to keep up. Please limit driving to only what is necessary.
•Van Wert County: Doesn’t issue roadway advisories.
•Hancock County: Windchill advisory in effect until 7 a.m. Sunday.
On Sunday, 1 to 3 inches of new snowfall is possible. Highs will be near 30, but south winds of 20 to 25 mph could make that feel like minus 15. Winds could gust as high as 30 mph.
Law enforcement was urging the public to stay off the roads if at all possible. A Saturday afternoon tweet from the Lima Police Department puts it bluntly.
“Just to clarify for one of our FB [Facebook] fans. A “level 2” is not a challenge. Just stay home.”