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Region braces for snow, cold

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for all of northwestern Ohio from late tonight to late Sunday night.
The weather service said 4 to 8 inches of snow is possible, mainly Sunday and Sunday evening, along with blowing and drifting snow. Visibility may drop to near zero at times.
A wind chill watch is also in effect from late Sunday night through Tuesday afternoon. Wind chill readings will be below zero through Wednesday morning, and could fall as low as minus 35 to minus 40 at night, the weather service said.
With more snow in the forecast Sunday, Findlay officials are urging people to move as many vehicles as they can off city streets for snow-plowing efficiency.
“The amount of time required, and the effectiveness of the plow crews is significantly impacted by vehicles that remain in the street,” said Service-Safety Director Paul Schmelzer.
The city has the ability to declare snow emergencies that require people to move vehicles off city streets or face citations, but different city administrations have handled this in different ways.
“Greater than 12 inches of snow would cause us to issue a public statement regarding this policy,” Schmelzer said. “Each storm is different and we discuss the approach for snow removal each time to appropriately react without unnecessarily inconveniencing people or moving police officers to parking removal enforcement.”
Officials are also asking people to blow or shovel snow into yards instead of into streets.
“The snow can freeze on the road, making it difficult to plow again and hazardous to other vehicles,” Schmelzer said.
Snow should not be piled or plowed near fire hydrants, according to the Findlay Fire Department. Residents who have a fire hydrant on or near their property should keep about a two-foot diameter clear around the hydrant, to assist firefighters.
Inaccessible fire hydrants can delay emergency response and cause risk to property owners and neighbors, the department said.

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