Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff
Thursday, 02 January 2014 11:24
Bowling Green and Wood County welcomed 2014 with a blanket of white causing numerous accidents, though most were minor.
|A woman crosses North Summit Street in Bowling Green on her way to the Wood County Courthouse this morning. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
The snowstorm produced an estimated three inches of snow. Complicating matters this morning was blowing and drifting.
Both the Ohio Highway Patrol and the Wood County Sheriff’s office report numerous slide-offs and cars in ditches throughout the county.
Wood County went to a Level 1 snow emergency as of 7:59 a.m. this morning.
A dispatcher at the OHP this morning said she did not have time to elaborate, as she had at least 20 calls to make to arrange for vehicles to be towed out of ditches.
Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn reminds all drivers to “drive for conditions.” He says safe speeds should be maintained and people should be prepared for the snow drifts.
“They should allow for the possibility to maintain control when encountering the numerous drifts,” he said.
“We’ve been out on 12-hour shifts since the ball dropped (in Times Square) Wednesday,” Bowling Green Director of Public Works Brian Craft said this morning. “We are doing the refuse and recycling routes as scheduled,” he added.
Craft said the streets on the outskirts of the city have been the toughest to keep cleared because of the wind piling up drifts. “We were pretty well caught up about 4 a.m., then the wind picked up again.”
Craft said plans call for the 12-hour shifts to continue, probably through Friday. “We’re looking at another storm Sunday so we want to get the snow pushed back. It helped that the schools and BGSU are not in session. Traffic has been light, but police did end up ticketing and towing a lot of vehicles from snow streets,”
The city issued a snow emergency at 10 a.m. Wednesday, meaning all vehicles were to be removed from designated snow streets by noon Wednesday.
Police issued 75 parking tickets and towed 30 vehicles that were parked on snow streets as of 7 this morning, according to Major Tony Hetrick.
Police reported numerous disable vehicles, from drivers getting stuck in the snow, but no weather-related accidents.
In North Baltimore, Chief Allan Baer says they have not had many problems and nothing serious.
“The (road) crews are out and doing what they can,” he said. “People just need to drive slow.”
He also noted the need to have good quality tires.
He responded to a crash on Interstate 75 and found “all four of her tires were bald.”
Baer added, “All the streets in the village are passable and our crews will be out all day.”
Roads remain in poor shape throughout the county. While no major crashes were reported, crews did not expect the weather to improve enough for significant progress and aimed only to keep conditions from deteriorating.
“There’s just not much we can do right now to get ahead of it because of the winds,” said Kraig Gottfried, supervisor of Perrysburg Township’s maintenance department. “All we’re trying to do is just keep the roads open.”
The city of Perrysburg reported similar problems. All eight plow trucks were in service this morning, and clearing snow was about all they could do, as salt is ineffective in such cold temperatures, said Jon Eckel, the city’s director of public service.
Several additional inches of snow are expected today, and high winds blowing snow all over Wood County made clearing roadways an uphill battle, said Gary Britten, superintendent of the county highway garage.
“We’ve been working at it two days and they’re worse now than they have been,” Britten said. “We don’t need any more snow with this wind. If we get more and the wind keeps up, things could get really, really bad.”
Britten said ongoing wind and snow may eventually prompt a Level 2 snow emergency.
Drifting snow was just as much a problem on highways as it was on county roadways. Traffic was reportedly slow-moving on southbound I-75, and like other workers, Ohio Department of Transportation crews were focused on maintaining what they could.
“The second we go over it, more snow just comes right back on the roadways,” said Theresa Pollick, spokesperson for ODOT District 2.
Highways such as Ohio 25 and I-75 experience more drifting in rural areas, such as those between Perrysburg and Bowling Green and further south until Findlay.
“I think our crews are doing a great job with what they have to work with considering these harsh winter conditions,” she said.
Until improvement is seen, Pollick urged drivers to travel slowly due to the unpredictability of snow drifts.