LIMA — Whiteout conditions mixed with bitter cold shut down portions of the Lima region late Monday afternoon as road crews battled drifting conditions, workers navigated treacherous roads on their way home, and schools and organizations announced closings for Tuesday.
The beginning of a week of much anticipated snowstorms — which are predicted to blanket the area with 8 to 14 inches of snow by Thursday and more bitter cold — played out at grocery stores, hardware stores — even tire stores.
It’s all been a brutal month of February that has seen:
• Temperatures above freezing only twice during the first 15 days of the month.
• The high temperature failing to reach 20 degrees on six days.
• And four times the temperature dropping below 10 degrees.
Normal temperatures for February are a high of 37 and a low of 20, according to AccuWeather.
Early Monday morning, not a snow shovel nor a snow blower could be found at the Lima Lowe’s store.
“We sold out of everything this weekend. We sold out of the salt today (Monday),” said Vanessa Andrews, manager of the Lima Lowe’s.
Justin Long, the store director at Chief Supermarket on South Cable Road, said the big crowds started appearing Friday to pick up the necessities.
“The usual staples — bread, milk, bananas, dairy items, things like that. We’ve seen a big uptick in the meat department as well,” Long said.
Long says they’re ready for whatever the storm brings them.
“Our supply chain’s in very good shape. We’ve ordered bigger trucks and then we get in another truck tonight so we should be good on supplies,” Long said. “I’ve got two more pallets of salt coming in tonight.”
Marshal Poling, counter sales manager for 4-K Tire in Delphos, said many people have invested in new tires. He said it began when people started receiving stimulus checks.
“We’ve definitely noticed an increase, especially around that first snow,” Poling said. “It seems like each snow and even this one, it’s kind of fizzling out a little bit because people are already getting caught up, but we’ve definitely seen an increase in tire sales.”
Poling says more people are opting to buy All-Season tires rather than snow tires.
“That way they don’t have to worry about taking the second set off and change them every summer and winter,” Poling said.
But there can be some advantages of buying a snow tire.
“Snow tires are gonna give you a lot better handling and traction overall as far as snow and ice because it’s designed mainly for that but the reasons you don’t want to run them in the summer are because they wear quickly,” Poling said.
After the snow passes, expect single-digit temperatures. Friday’s low temperature is expected to be 7 degrees.
Dominion Energy Ohio is asking its customers to voluntarily turn down their thermostats and lower the setting on their water heaters and for businesses to reduce the use of natural gas for manufacturing or processing if practicable.
“Dominion Energy is prepared to serve our customers reliably during this upcoming period of extreme cold weather, but we also ask customers to conserve where they can do safely,” said Jim Eck, vice president and general manager, Ohio and West Virginia Distribution.
Monday’s snowfall caused slower traffic and some cancellations.
The Ohio Department of Transportation has been out since midnight Sunday night trying to get the roads in shape. Likewise, city and county road crews have also put in numerous hours to get ahead of the storm that started late Sunday and is expected to last until sometime Tuesday.