The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

November 13, 2013

Winter weather surprises Ashtabula County drivers

By MARK TODD - mtodd@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

— Ashtabula County’s first significant snowfall apparently caught several drivers by surprise Tuesday.

Slippery roads contributed to dozens of traffic crashes that kept safety personnel hopping, according to reports. Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers responded to more than 100 incidents during a seven hour span starting early Wednesday morning through early afternoon, Lt. Jerad Sutton said Tuesday.

“People haven’t quite developed their winter driving skills,” he said.

Troopers said more than 40 of the incidents were weather-related, and the numbers were split between crashes and vehicles that simply slid off highways, Sutton said. Four people were injured as of Tuesday afternoon, none seriously, he said.

Many drivers weren’t able to transition quickly enough into winter mode, Sutton said. When bad weather arrives, leave a few minutes earlier than usual to avoid the temptation to speed, he said.

Rain that fell most of Monday morphed into snow and slush after sunset. On average, most of the county received at least a few inches, according to reports. The bad weather was anticipated and state and county road crews were prepared, officials said.

“We had crews out at 4 a.m.,” said Amir Garakouei, county highway superintendent. Few areas were spared, although accumulation seemed a little heavier in south county, he said.

The department has ample material to fight ice this winter, Garakouei said. “We have plenty,” he said.

Roads probably won’t need special treatment over the next few days, thanks to a more favorable forecast from the National Weather Service. In fact, partly cloud skies and temperatures in the upper 30s today will probably dissolve most of Tuesday’s snow and ice. It gets better: mostly sunny skies and temperatures approaching 50 degrees are coming on Thursday, according to the NWS.