LIMA — A winter storm hit the entire region with snowfall amounts varying, depending on the location.
In many areas, the event started with a thin layer of freezing drizzle which turned to several inches of snow during the day.
Every county in the region issued some kind of alert or snow emergency. Allen County issued a Level 2 Roadway Warning by early afternoon, meaning that “all roadways in Allen County are extremely dangerous due to heavy, drifted or blowing snow. Some roads may become impassable causing danger to stranded motorists. Only motorists with extreme necessity and specialized equipment should attempt to drive in these unsafe conditions. In the interest of public safety, motorists are strongly advised to stay off roadways until conditions improve.” That advisory would remain in effect until at least 9 a.m. today.
Putnam County also issued a Level 2 advisory Saturday afternoon. Auglaize County does not issue roadway advisories but urged caution from drivers due to road conditions.
Law enforcement handled numerous slide-offs throughout the region.
Most activities, like basketball games, were canceled or postponed to a later date due to the snowstorm.
Fighting a storm like this takes lots of equipment and manpower. In Ohio, around 1,600 snow plows and 3,000 drivers were on duty to do battle with Mother Nature.
The Ohio Department of Transportation District 1 had crews out early Saturday to salt and plow the roads.
“Every garage manages their shifts according to the need, so we have about 125 trucks available to us for snow and ice and those are operated by 152 permanent employees throughout our eight-county district and 40 seasonal employees that we bring on just to help us with snow and ice season and those are maintained by 22 mechanics district-wide,” said Rhonda Pees, public information officer for The Ohio Department of Transportation District 1.
Motorists need to be careful around plows and allow them plenty of space.
“We always say, ‘Don’t crowd the plow,’ and what we mean by that is to keep a safe distance when you’re following the plow. They can’t see you behind them and also keep your lights on low-beam. I think a lot of times people think when they’re behind a truck we’re sitting up higher that their high beams will not affect the driver but it does so that’s a consideration we would ask people to do,” said Pees.
If you do try to pass a plow, you need to take into consideration the snow cloud that could blind you to oncoming traffic and blind the driver to your presence.
“When passing a truck, we talk about the snow cloud that comes off of a plow. I’ve experienced this myself last week — a snow cloud as the snow is coming off the plow can completely envelop the truck itself so you can not see the truck if you were passing them and then they, in turn, can not see you, so just keep that safe distance and be aware that the snow can create a whiteout condition where you would lose track where the truck is as you’re passing and also where you are in relation to the road,” said Pees.
As always, motorists should anticipate poor driving conditions and adjust your speed accordingly.
“Lower your speed during snow and ice events. Pavement conditions can vary from section of pavement to section of pavement so just be aware of that and one thing we like to advise people not to do is do not use your cruise control during snow and ice season because if your cruise is set and you would happen to hit one of those slick spots your car will then compensate for that and perhaps your tires will spin so we caution people against setting your cruise during snow and ice because there’s icy patches you may encounter that would cause your car to react to it and cause your tires to spin,” said Pees.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.