Owens Community College student Usen Ekpek shields his face from blinding snow Monday as he brushes off his car at the school’s Perrysburg Township parking lot.
THE BLADE/LORI KING
A snowy Monday night inched Toledo closer to a record-setting winter snowfall.
The Toledo area needed less than 5 inches to break the record here when snow began falling late Monday. Before the latest snowfall, 68.3 inches of snow had fallen at Toledo Express Airport so far this season, the National Weather Service in Cleveland said, bringing the city near the 73.1-inch record set in 1977-78.
The city prepared Monday for a winter weather advisory, which was to remain in effect until 4 a.m. It called for snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches; forecasters at the National Weather Service said the Toledo area had gotten 4.1 inches early today.
City plow trucks readied to respond, as some eyed the season snow record.
“The only thing we can say is that maybe we’ll break ... the record,” city spokesman Lisa Ward said before snow began to fall.
It was going to be close: “It’s becoming scattered in nature, so you will probably get another inch, maybe up to two,” Ms. Clark said.
Lucas County, along with Fulton, Henry, and Williams counties, called for Level 2 snow emergencies — which means only those who felt it is necessary should be driving — late Monday after drifting snow and black ice made travel treacherous. Wood, Hancock, Ottawa, Sandusky, Seneca, and Defiance counties were at Level 1.
Toledo police shut down the I-475 eastbound ramp onto the I-75 northbound ramps about 9 p.m., when semis couldn’t get up the ice-covered ramp.
The city’s biggest concern was the rest of the week, when temperatures are expected to warm up to a high near 36 today and Wednesday, then jump to about 46 on a rainy Thursday.
Ms. Ward urged people to clear ice and snow from sewer line connections to reduce flooding risks that come with rain.
“We’ve already been through ‘snowmageddon.’ ... We definitely don’t want record flooding,” she said.
The city and Ohio Department of Transportation also prepared to patch potholes with hot-mix asphalt, a longer-lasting way to fix scarred roadways.
A hot-mix asphalt plant is opening Wednesday, several weeks earlier than during a normal season.
Theresa Pollick, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Transportartion, said using the hot mix this time of year is “extremely rare.” ODOT will begin filling potholes with the hot mix Wednesday, weather permitting.