The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

January 20, 2013

Winter returns with 10 inches of snow possible

By MARGIE NETZEL - mnetzel@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

— Customers at the Saybrook Township Giant Eagle walked into the store without their coats Sunday afternoon, picking up groceries and necessities for a lake effect storm that could bring as much as 10 inches of snow over the next few days.

There is a 90 percent chance Ashtabula County will get at least some snow today and possibly a lot more Tuesday, the National Weather Service reports.

A lake effect snow warning has been issued through Wednesday for Cuyahoga, Lake, Geauga and Ashtabula counties, NWS reports, as Arctic wind meets the relatively warm waters of Lake Erie.

High winds will give the storm length, NWS reports, and some parts of the region could get a foot of accumulation amid snow squalls.

Most people weren’t feeling the freeze Sunday and just a few snowflakes drifted to the ground, but the weather is expected to take a turn for the colder today with a anticipated high temperature of 24 degrees, NWS predicts. Tuesday will bring colder temperatures with a high of just 15 degrees and the snow will become lake effect combined with high winds.

Snow showers and frigid temperatures are expected to continue into Wednesday, but should taper off by Thursday, NWS reports.

Total accumulation in the lake effect region should reach six to 10 inches, NWS reports.

Geneva Area City Schools Board of Education member Ford Behm was hoping warmer temperatures would continue through February, as the district has seen a savings in heating bills in its five school buildings.

“It’s probably too much to ask, but the warm weather definitely saves the district money,” he said.

Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Jerad Sutton cautions drivers to slow down and be alert when driving on snow or ice covered roads.

“Drivers need to slow down and take their time when road conditions are less than perfect,” he said. “They should try to keep it below the speed limit. The speed limit is designed for perfect conditions on the road. Anything less than perfect road conditions dictates less speed.”

Sutton said a lot of crashes during and just after snow storms are preventable.

“These are low-speed, minor damage, sliding into other vehicles, sliding off the road crashes,” he said. “They are preventable. Go slower where you need to go and if you don’t need to travel in these conditions, pick up your bread and milk on the way home and just stay off the roads.”

Sharon Bradley said people should start “freezin’ for a reason.”

As an organizer of the 17th annual Law Enforcement Polar Bear Plunge, Bradley hopes the colder weather will inspire people to go jump in the lake.

The plunge will be held Feb. 9 at the Lodge and Conference Center at Geneva-on-the-Lake, with events beginning Feb. 8.

Plungers gather sponsors to benefit Special Olympics Ohio. Registrations are available at www.polarbearplunge.org.

Business sponsors are needed to boost contributions to Ohio Special Olympics. To sponsor, call 993-1201.

The organizers of Geneva’s Winterfest are keeping their fingers crossed for snow on Feb. 2 as the city celebrates all things chilly.

The city employees couldn’t finish setting up the ice skating rink until the temperature dropped, Assistant City Manager Jennifer Brown said.

Nature is the only way to freeze the ice on the rink.

Brown said the city is planning for the skating rink to be operational by the new gazebo next to the Geneva Community Center in time for Feb. 2.