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Published: Monday, 2/10/2014 - Updated: 5 months ago

More cold coming, with brief relief from snow

Schools, teachers eager to return to predictable schedule

BY FEDERICO MARTINEZ
BLADE STAFF WRITER
A bicycle rider pedals down the middle of Summit Street while the snow continues to fall Sunday. Sub-zero temperatures are forecast to return today, but no snow is expected until the weekend. A bicycle rider pedals down the middle of Summit Street while the snow continues to fall Sunday. Sub-zero temperatures are forecast to return today, but no snow is expected until the weekend.
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Old Man Winter will drop another blast of freezing weather on northwest Ohio this week, with daytime temperatures struggling to reach the teens before plummeting to -4 and -5 degrees later today and again on Tuesday night, according to the National Weather Service.

Daytime temperatures in Toledo are expected to reach the high teens during the day today and drop to -4 degrees at night, said Frank Kieltyka, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service’s Cleveland office. Tuesday’s high is expected to be 11 degrees, the low -5.

“The good news is we’re not expecting any more snow until later in the week,” Mr. Kieltyka said.

That’s a relief for many Toledoans who’ve had more than enough of winter this year. Some have even started to appeal to a higher power for mercy.

“I’m going to pray,” said Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins, partly in jest. “I’d go to five churches and pray if I thought it would work.”

Although Mayor Collins is winter weary, like many residents he’s also eager to see if Toledo will break the all-time snowfall record of 73.1 inches, which was set in 1977-78.

The 4.6 inches of snow that fell on Toledo over the weekend raised the city’s total for 2013-14 to 67.8 inches, according to the National Weather Service’s Mr. Kieltyka.

Sunday’s snowfall total was 2.6 inches.

“At this point and time we deserve the record,” Mayor Collins said. “With all the potholes, overtime, and cold, we all deserve to be the record holders.”

With a strong chance of snow showers expected every day between Saturday and Feb. 18, “there’s a good chance Toledo will have a new record by the end of February,” Mr. Kieltyka said.

Wind, snow, and freezing temperatures created treacherous driving conditions this last weekend, prompting 12 area counties, including Lucas, Sandusky, Ottawa, and Wood to declare Level 1 advisories on Sunday.

Law enforcement authorities in all 12 counties reported numerous vehicles sliding off roads and into ditches, but no serious injuries were reported, officials said.

Southbound I-75 at Sterns Road remained closed for nearly two hours on Sunday morning after a tractor-trailer struck another vehicle and then jackknifed just before reaching the Ohio line, according to Monroe County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Heath Velliquette.

No life-threatening injuries were reported in the incident which is still under investigation, Mr. Velliquette said.

It took work crews several hours to drag the semi off the highway so all the lanes could be reopened.

No additional snow is forecast until the upcoming weekend, Mr. Kieltyka said.

That’s good news for local school officials, who’ve had to cancel 2 to 3 weeks of classes since January.

Josh Flores, a Spanish teacher at Waite High, admits all the time off has him “going a little stir crazy.”

“We had our winter break and four more days, and I would have been fine with that,” said Mr. Flores. “But since then we've had a lot of one and two-day school weeks. What else can you fix at home?”

It’s also difficult to teach when classes are constantly being interrupted, he said.

“It’s difficult to keep students centered and focused when they miss that many days. When they come back you have spend a lot of time reviewing, which from a teacher’s standpoint can be tedious.”

Sue Kenney, spokesman for St. Francis de Sales High School, agreed.

“The first time you kind of look forward to it,” said Ms. Kenney. “But the novelty has worn off.”

Not for some students, such as Andy Okuley, a junior, and Colin Kenney, a senior, at St. Francis de Sales High School. They are still enjoying the snow days.

“I love being home, sleeping in later, and hanging with my family,” young Okuley said. “We have a tradition at my house on snow days that we have special breakfasts, usually including homemade doughnuts.”

Added young Kenney: “There is no greater feeling in this world than being a teenager who wakes up and figures out there is a snow day. Although I have had this feeling many times this school year, it never gets old.”

The only drawback, both students agree, is that teachers have made them take home “Blizzard Bags,” which contain homework for them to do while they are not in school.

Classes at St. Francis have been canceled so many times since January, school administrators recently decided to change school policy, Ms. Kenney said. “If schools are delayed due to cold weather, we will still have school; previously we would cancel classes for the day,” she said. If driving conditions are bad, school will still close.

“It’s getting to be a critical time now,” Ms. Kenney said. “We have the AP exams coming up, and the teachers want to make sure the students are prepared. And nobody wants to still be going to school in late June.”

Contact Federico Martinez at: fmartinez@theblade.com or 419-724-6154.



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