Bitter cold keeps schools closed

Motorists maneuver through cold, snowy downtown Findlay on Monday. The bus was traveling on Main Street, and the scene was photographed from the Crawford Street parking garage. (Photo by Randy Roberts)

Motorists maneuver through cold, snowy downtown Findlay on Monday. The bus was traveling on Main Street, and the scene was photographed from the Crawford Street parking garage. (Photo by Randy Roberts)

By THE COURIER STAFF

The prospect of subzero temperatures today prompted regional schools to cancel classes for the second straight day.

The temperature was minus 8 in Findlay at midnight Monday, and the National Weather Service predicted the overnight low would reach minus 15, which would set a Findlay record for Jan. 28.

The weather service expected a high temperature today of only 2 degrees, with wind chills as low as minus 37. A low tonight of minus 8, with wind chills as low as minus 28, was predicted.

A wind chill warning for the region remains in effect until noon Wednesday. The warning is issued by the weather service when strong wind will combine with cold temperatures to create dangerously cold conditions for exposed skin. The wind will make it feel like it is 25 degrees below zero or colder for several hours.

Schools in the region that are closed today include Findlay, Arcadia, Arlington, Blanchard Valley, Bluffton, Carey, Columbus Grove and St. Anthony, Cory-Rawson, Elmwood, Fostoria, Hardin Northern, Heritage Christian, Hopewell-Loudon, Leipsic and St. Mary, Liberty-Benton, McComb, Mohawk, New Riegel, Ottawa-Glandorf and St. Peter, Pandora-Gilboa, Patrick Henry, Riverdale, St. Michael, St. Wendelin, Tiffin, Trinity Lutheran, Upper Sandusky, Van Buren and Vanlue.

Ohio public schools are allowed to close on five “calamity” days each school year, and many have exceeded that number and will have to make up missed days.

Some Ohio lawmakers have proposed letting school districts take up to four additional weather-related days off this year.

Republican state Reps. Tony Burkley and Brian Hill introduced the measure on Monday. Gov. John Kasich earlier Monday urged adding some calamity days on a one-time basis because of this year’s unusually severe weather.

Kasich said many schools have exhausted their five allowable days off for snow or bad weather, or soon will. That means districts will have to extend the school year, which he said would “wreak havoc” on school budgets and schedules.

Today’s frigid forecast caused the Owens Community College campus in Findlay, and the Bowling Green State University campus to cancel classes today.

Hancock County Common Pleas Court, Findlay Municipal Court, Hancock County Board of Elections, and the Hancock County Adult Probation Department also are closed today.

While the cold was severe overnight, road conditions in the area were improving as there was less ice and blowing snow.

Wyandot, Henry and Seneca counties remained under a Level 2 weather advisory Monday night. The advisory asks people to refrain from unneeded travel.

Level 1 weather alerts, the lowest level, were in effect Monday night in Hancock, Putnam, Allen and Wood counties. The weather alert warns of treacherous travel conditions.

No serious traffic crashes were reported by law enforcement agencies in the region Monday evening.

But in Seneca County, a sheriff’s office spokeswoman said some motorists were abandoning vehicles that became stuck or broke down due to the weather, without alerting authorities.

The sheriff’s office said such motorists should contact authorities.

“Just don’t leave it there!” the spokeswoman said.

There was no road alert or advisory in effect Monday night in Hardin County.

“We are doing good,” a Hardin County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher said.

Findlay’s low temperature on Monday, minus 8, was reached just before midnight. It did not break the record for Jan. 27, minus 10 set in 1915, according to the Findlay Water Pollution Control Center, which keeps the city’s weather records. Those records go back to 1894.

But if the temperature continued falling overnight to the predicted minus 15, that would break Findlay’s record low for Jan. 28. The record is minus 13, set in 1963.

The predicted frigid temperatures today caused Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative to issue a peak demand alert between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.

The company said it is likely that load control will be conducted during the peak demand alert, and that load control could extend slightly beyond the expected time frame.

“The alert is to urge both commercial and residential members to reduce electricity use during those periods and likely will coincide with the activation of automatic load control switches,” President and CEO George Walton said. “This action is not a shortage of power but a cost-savings measure for co-op members. A portion of what Hancock-Wood pays for electricity is determined by peak demand, so members’ participation in controlling electric use helps us to keep electric rates stable.”

The company has customers in parts of Hancock, Wood, Allen, Erie, Hardin, Henry, Putnam, Sandusky, Seneca and Wyandot counties.

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