By ERIC SCHAADT
Northwestern Ohio was hit by a one-two punch of heavy snow on Saturday followed by bitterly cold weather Sunday, forcing many residents to dig out in single-digit temperatures.
The Ohio Department of Transportation reported that 7 inches of snow fell during the weekend in Hancock County. Wyandot County was hit the hardest in the area with 10 inches of snow on the ground, according to ODOT.
Other area counties reported the following snow accumulation totals:
Allen County — 7 inches
Hardin County — 8 inches
Henry County — 6 inches
Putnam County — 6 inches
Seneca County — 7.5 inches
Wood County — 8 inches
In addition to heavy snowfall, wind gusts up to around 40 mph whipped the area.
A Level 3 Road Alert was declared in Hancock County Saturday night. Under a Level 3, according to the sheriff’s office, “most roadways are closed and extremely hazardous… Employees should comply with workplace policies or contact their employer. Violators may be cited.”
Hancock County had dropped down to a Level 1 alert by Sunday morning.
Sheriff’s offices in Hardin, Putnam and Seneca counties all declared Level 3 road alerts Saturday night.
Allen County was under a Level 2 alert Saturday. A Level 2 which means “roadways are extremely dangerous due to heavy, drifted or blowing snow. Only motorists with extreme necessity and specialized equipment should attempt to drive in these unsafe conditions. In the interest of public safety, motorists are strongly advised to stay off roadways until conditions improve.”
Only Hardin and Wyandot counties remained on a Level 2 alert on Sunday. Wood County was not under any road alert.
State snowplow crews were out in force Saturday and Sunday. Their numbers ranged from eight crews working in Henry County to 17 crews in Hancock County. Ten state crews were still on county roads Sunday night.
Township and county snowplows were also working.
Despite the hazardous road conditions, no major wrecks were reported by area law enforcement agencies Sunday.
In Findlay, minor crashes were handled during the weekend, none with serious injuries, according to city police. The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office also said there were minor traffic accidents.
Fender-bender accidents were reported on a slippery U.S. 23 in Wyandot County, according to the sheriff’s office.
Minor traffic accidents and autos sliding off roadways were reported by other area sheriff’s office dispatchers.
“Luckily, people were smart,” said a spokeswoman with the Henry County Sheriff’s Office.
No significant wrecks were reported by the Findlay post of the State Highway Patrol.
Those who got out their shovels and snowblowers Sunday morning discovered that temperatures in Findlay had dropped overnight to a low of 3 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. It did warm up to a high of 12 degrees by mid-afternoon.
The temperature dipped below zero before midnight Sunday, and the weather service said temperatures were expected to fall overnight to a low of 11 degrees below zero and a wind chill value of minus 24 degrees. Today’s high is only expected to reach 9 degrees, according to the weather service.
Temperatures, however, are expected to reach into the 30s by Tuesday.