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Published: 2/2/2009

Near-record snowfall in Toledo brought fun, problems

BY JULIE M. McKINNON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Emily Reimer, 4, and Olivia Lewallen Shoemaker, 11, both of Walbridge, sled at Pearson Metropark in Oregon. Emily Reimer, 4, and Olivia Lewallen Shoemaker, 11, both of Walbridge, sled at Pearson Metropark in Oregon.
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Piles of snow on Douglas Road are a reminder of the 30.7 inches, just shy of a record, that fell last month. Piles of snow on Douglas Road are a reminder of the 30.7 inches, just shy of a record, that fell last month.
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Emily Reimer, 4, gets a push from her father, David, as they join others enjoying the weather at Pearson Metropark in Oregon.
Emily Reimer, 4, gets a push from her father, David, as they join others enjoying the weather at Pearson Metropark in Oregon.
JETTA FRASER / THE BLADE Enlarge | Buy This Photo

After a month of nearly record-breaking snowfall - and six days with subzero temperatures - Ralph Kesling and his youngest daughter were raring to go tubing early Sunday at Pearson Metropark in Oregon.

"Really, it feels like summer," joked the Oregon man after spending four hours racing against and otherwise enjoying Pearson's sledding hill with Halayna, 5. "We were trying everything today."

The first day of February brought a reprieve from January's chilling temperatures in the Toledo area, where the 16.5-degree average was the eighth coldest on record for the month and 7.4 degrees below normal, according to the National Weather Service in Cleveland.

While the mercury topped freezing only six days in January, the temperature climbed to 39 degrees at Toledo Express Airport yesterday - a temperature reached only once all of last month.

The relative warmth was not expected to last long, however.

The National Weather Service predicted a Toledo high Sunday of near 31 degrees, with a slight chance of snow showers this afternoon. After an overnight low around 20, more snow showers and an upper-20s high were predicted for Monday.

"The next couple of days, it looks like we're going to go downhill a little bit," said Marty Mullen, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

In downtown Toledo, a buildup of snow and ice caused a facade above Caesar's Showbar, 727 Jefferson Ave., to collapse at about 5 p.m. yesterday, showering the sidewalk with debris.

No one was injured, but police blocked off lanes on Jefferson near the bar last night in case of further damage.

Bryan Martin, the assistant manager of Caesar's, said the incident put a damper on the bar's Super Bowl party, as some patrons left and others stayed away even though the bar stayed open.

"It kind of crushed our Super Bowl party plans," Mr. Martin said.

A 10.8-inch snowstorm that hit Toledo last week, on top of snowfalls from earlier in the month, put the city on the verge of breaking the record for its snowiest month ever.

But after that storm passed on Wednesday, no further measurable snow fell at Toledo Express Airport, leaving the monthly total at 30.7 inches - 0.1 inch shy of the 30.8-inch record set in January, 1978.

Remarkably, this January was drier than average. All that snow accounted for just 1.53 inches of moisture, which, combined with 0.06 inch of rain earlier in the month, left Toledo 0.34 inch below normal for precipitation.

Dry snow and the month's abnormally low temperatures accounted for the low precipitation total, Mr. Mullen said.

The persistent cold included morning lows of -14 degrees on both Jan. 16 and 17, Toledo's lowest temperatures since Jan. 19, 1994.

Yesterday's much warmer weather brought out Don Scheiba, of Oregon, who walked about two miles around Pearson. He hasn't been outdoors walking much of late, he said.

"It was so cold and all the snow was around," Mr. Scheiba said. "Today's a better day for it."

David Reimer of Walbridge and his girlfriend, Angie Shoemaker, also of Walbridge, took their children out yesterday to sled at Pearson. It was the first such outing ever for Mr. Reimer's girls, Lillian, 7, and Emily, 4.

Ms. Shoemaker said she dislikes the cold and just hopes there are as many days with temperatures above 100 this summer as there have been subzero days this winter.

Yet her oldest, Olivia, 11, screamed with glee on the sledding hill, where her brothers, Daniel, 10, and Thomas, 8, also frolicked.

This winter's weather even has been a bit much for Mr. Reimer.

"I love snow," he said while giving the sledding children a boost from the top of the hill. "I'm just ready for spring."

Blade staff writer Steve Eder contributed to this report.

Contact Julie M. McKinnon at:

jmckinnon@theblade.com

or 419-724-6087.



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