The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

January 22, 2013

Cold, wind close schools, makes driving treacherous

By SHELLEY TERRY and MARK TODD — Staff Writers
Star Beacon

— Single-digit temperatures and dangerous wind chills are expected to linger Wednesday in Ashtabula County, weather experts said.

A lake effect snow warning was expected to expire around 7 a.m. today, but a wind-chill warning was to stay in effect until this afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. High temperatures weren’t expected to top 17 degrees, with wind chills that will feel like 11 degrees below zero.

Extreme conditions on Tuesday prompted every public school district to cancel classes. A special training program in the Ashtabula Area City Schools district dealing with armed intruder response will be rescheduled. Staff and faculty will be reintroduced to the Alert-Lockdown-Inform-Counter-Evacuate program.

Temperatures struggled to stay above zero Tuesday morning. Jefferson notched a 6-degree reading at 9 a.m., but winds that exceeded 30 mph made the air feel like 15 degrees below zero.

Gusts deposited drifts on roads and highways, especially in areas devoid of trees or buildings that serve as windbreaks. Plow operators across the county were busy pushing snow, although their work was slow-going because of the wind.

 Dom Iarocci, superintendent of public services for the city of Ashtabula, said he put five snowplows on the streets Monday night and five snowplows Tuesday morning.

“The main roads are clear; we are working on the side streets now,” he said shortly before noon Tuesday. “It’s not the snow so much, but the wind. It keeps drifting back over.”

Ashtabula got pounded with about a foot of snow, Iarocci said.

County plow drivers began fighting the elements around 4 a.m. Tuesday and were still at it 12 hours later, said Amir Garakouei, county highway superintendent. As of Tuesday afternoon, all county roads were open, he said.

Strong winds hampered efforts to keep roads unplugged, Garakouei said.

Despite the climate, the Ohio State Highway Patrol reported only a handful of traffic crashes on Tuesday, none involving any serious injury, troopers said. Interstate 90 was clear, according to reports.

No widespread power outages in Ashtabula County were noted on he Illuminated Company’s website.