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Snowy, windy weather contributed to widespread traffic accidents across the area Saturday and may have been a factor in a fire that destroyed a home in eastern Ottawa County on Friday night.
The region’s latest snowstorm brought more than 3 inches to Toledo Express Airport on Friday night and Saturday, including steady light snow overnight followed by lake-effect squalls that swept in from Lake Michigan. The squalls created white-out conditions on highways, making driving treacherous.
The 3.6-inch snowfall as of 5 p.m. lifted Toledo’s record-setting January total to 36.4 inches and raised the season-to-date snowfall to 48.1 inches, according to National Weather Service data. Forecasters said an additional inch was possible Saturday evening, after which the temperature was expected to fall to near zero. A wind chill advisory for -20 was posted until 7 a.m. today.
More snow was expected later today with the arrival of another storm from western Canada. An additional 1 to 2 inches was possible, and lighter snowfall after dark, according to the weather service.
Late Saturday night, many northwest Ohio counties, including Lucas County, were under Level 2 weather advisories, under which authorities discourage nonessential travel.
Among crashes that appeared to be weather related were a string of collisions reported within 35 minutes of each other Saturday morning along northbound I-75 in Hancock County, including a six-vehicle chain reaction.
Troopers at the Ohio Highway Patrol’s Findlay post said the pileup began about 9:25 a.m. just north of State Rt. 235 in Union Township, when a sport utility vehicle driven by Walter Gordon, 42, of Smyrna, Ga., stopped because of an earlier crash, was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer driven by Amos Kadja, 44, of Pickerington, Ohio. The semi jackknifed and struck the side of an SUV driven by Tamera Henry, 43, of Bluffton, Ohio.
As the semi continued to jackknife, it struck another semi driven by Yves Lefort, 48, of St. Chrysostome, Que., and a pickup driven by James Steen, 59, of Findlay. Mr. Steen lost control and struck a car driven by Abdiaziz Awale, 50, of Ontario.
Mr. Awale was taken to Blanchard Valley Hospital in Findlay with injuries that weren’t life-threatening, troopers said. A condition was not available. No citations were issued.
Within 35 minutes, several more crashes were reported near the Route 235 interchange during a snow squall, with several tractor-trailers in the median.
A truck driven by Hao Liu, 56, of Cincinnati slid off the right shoulder and rolled onto its left side in a ditch, while an SUV driven by Kim Broomhall, 56, of Kettering, Ohio, went off the left shoulder and struck a truck stranded in the median. Both drivers were treated for minor injuries at Blanchard Valley.
U.S. 23 was closed in Sylvania between the Michigan border and Central Avenue because of a series of crashes, including one involving a jackknifed semi and several cars. On the Ohio Turnpike, a car rollover near the U.S. 250 interchange south of Sandusky trapped the westbound car’s occupants but caused no serious injuries, while numerous slide-offs were reported elsewhere.
Southbound State Rt. 25 south of Dowling Road in Wood County was closed for about 20 minutes at midafternoon as troopers from the Bowling Green post cleared a chain-reaction crash. One patrol vehicle was struck and had minor damage but remained in service. A wrecker also was hit. Troopers reported no injuries.
In Ottawa County’s Danbury Township, officials said fire that destroyed the home of Jodi Kopanski in the 300 block of Florence Drive was tentatively blamed on a wood-burning stove.
Doug Waugh, chief of the Danbury Township Volunteer Fire Department, said Ms. Kopanski left a fire in the stove when she left the home around 6 p.m., and saw flames inside the house and smoke from the roof when she returned around 10:15 p.m.
Fire was heaviest near the chimney, the chief said. No one was hurt, but Ms. Kopanski’s cat may have been killed.
While the thermometer briefly rose to 28 at Toledo Express Airport on Saturday morning, another round of bitter cold is expected in the Toledo area today.