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Tuesday, October 21, 2014
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Published: Sunday, 2/17/2013

Snow squalls trigger batch of crashes on icy roadways

BLADE STAFF AND NEWS SERVICES

Snow squalls swirling across northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan rapidly coated roads Saturday, contributing to traffic spinouts and pileups.

No serious injuries were reported in any of a string of crashes on U.S. 23 in Monroe County. Crashes also occurred on I-75 in Monroe County and Toledo, and on I-280 in Toledo during the squalls.

A chain-reaction collision on U.S. 23 south of Milan involved a tractor-trailer and as many as 20 cars, Monroe County sheriff's deputies said. Northbound U.S. 23 was closed for a time at I-475 in Sylvania Township because of that pileup and other crashes in Michigan.

Paramedics and police responded to a multiple-vehicle crash on I-280 at Front Street in East Toledo shortly before 1 p.m.

Crashes also occurred at the I-75/I-280 junction in North Toledo, at Arlington and Detroit avenues in South Toledo, and on the Anthony Wayne Trail.

Around 4 p.m., the Ohio State Highway Patrol reported numerous spinouts on the Ohio Turnpike near Sandusky.

Dozens of crashes were reported on southeast Michigan freeways between the state line north to Flint.

“The frequency of snow came so quickly you had a lot of roads ice up,” said Rob Morosi, a Michigan Department of Transportation spokesman.

“There were a lot of accidents ranging from simple spinouts to multiple-vehicle crashes that closed freeways.”

Conditions were similar on Jan. 31, when a chain-reaction wreck killed three people on I-75 in southwest Detroit.

The pileups caused by a sudden snow squall involved 43 cars, SUVs, and tractor-trailers in a dozen separate crashes.

At Toledo Express Airport, 0.1-inch of snow had fallen by 5 p.m., according to the Cleveland office of the National Weather Service, said Mark Adams, a weather service meteorologist.

“That’s all it takes. Just enough to break friction,” Mr. Adams said.

“You don’t necessarily have to have an inch. Slick is slick.”

Upper-level low pressure moving into the area drove the snow bursts.

“The overall air mass is unstable enough that you’re getting snow showers,” Mr. Adams said.

“They’re spotty, that’s why you have highly variable conditions”: sunshine one moment, snow the next.



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