The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
Think winter’s over because it’s early March? Think again.
A storm dropping out of the Northern Plains states was expected to merge with a smaller system and intensify today as it approached the Ohio Valley, potentially dropping half a foot of snow or more on parts of northwest Ohio before it pulls east Wednesday morning.
The Ohio Department of Transportation’s Bowling Green and Lima offices said they were bracing for as much as 9 inches from the storm in the area between those two cities.
Trucks in both districts, which cover 18 counties in Ohio’s northwest corner, spread salt brine on highways Monday to prepare.
The National Weather Service office in Cleveland said the Toledo area was likely to get less snow. It predicted 3 to 6 inches for an area including Toledo, Bowling Green, Tiffin, and Fremont, with the higher end of that range likely to the south.
The agency’s North Webster, Ind., office predicted 3 to 5 inches in Fulton, Henry, Defiance, and Williams counties and 4 to 8 inches south of there. Its storm alerts take effect at 10 a.m. today and continue until mid-morning Wednesday.
“We have no snow on the ground now, so that’s helpful,” said Rhonda Pees, a spokesman for ODOT’s district office in Lima. “Pavement temperatures are above freezing, so that’s helpful too. And the timing of it, it’s hitting right in the middle of our normal shift, so we’ll have all our people ready to go.”
Theresa Pollick, a spokesman at the Bowling Green office, said forecasts her office had received called for “a heavy, wet snow to begin late morning or early afternoon, so we don’t anticipate this to be a blowing and drifting situation, but we will monitor for changes.”
No weather alerts were in effect Monday evening in southeast Michigan, but the National Weather Service in Detroit predicted 1 to 3 inches in Lenawee and Monroe counties, ending before morning Wednesday.
The storm could bring the season’s heaviest snowfall to parts of the region. So far, Toledo’s biggest snowfall has been the 3.8 inches that fell on Feb. 2, part of 12.4 inches that fell at Toledo Express Airport last month.
That was three inches above normal, but followed below-normal snow months in both December and January. So far this winter, Toledo has had 22.5 inches of snow, which is 8.7 inches below normal.
Last winter, the warmest on record in Toledo, also had below-normal snowfall, but the season’s deepest snow accumulation at the airport was reported March 5, after 3.7 inches fell that morning and the previous afternoon and evening. On average, Toledo gets 5.9 inches of snow in March.
Besides putting ODOT crews on plow duty, the snow could interfere with a transportation department contractor’s plans to erect bridge beams for the realigned ramp linking eastbound I-475 to northbound I-75 in central Toledo.
The beam work, which started Monday night and requires closing the northbound I-75 ramp to westbound I-475 between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., is weather dependent, Ms. Pollick said. It is expected to take four nights to complete.
Contact David Patch at: email@example.com or 419-724-6094.