Winter storm leaves a treacherous path in Springfield area

Clark, Champaign counties under a Winter Storm Warning through this morning

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Credit: Marshall Gorby

The winter storm that walloped the Springfield area Thursday closed schools and most government operations as it brought heavy ice accumulation from freezing rain, sleet and snow that lead to dangerous driving conditions.

All counties in Ohio are under a Winter Storm Warning through 7 a.m. today, according to the National Weather Service.

Clark and Champaign counties were expected to receive possible accumulations of 5 to 8 inches of snow and two-tenths to four-tenths of an inch of ice.

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Snow is expected to taper off this morning, and Arctic air will build in, leading to a bitterly cold weekend. Once the snow moves out, cloudy skies will gradually become mostly sunny with a high near 22 degrees, and skies will be mostly clear tonight with an overnight low around zero.

It will be sunny Saturday with a high in the lower to middle 20s, and the overnight low will fall to the single digits, while Sunday will be sunny and warmer with a high in the middle 30s.

Clark County officials and local school districts Thursday evening were continuing to monitor the impacts of the winter storm.

Thursday included moderate to heavy snow after some sleet or freezing rain mixed in early on, according to the NWS. The potential for snow and sleet accumulations of 5 to 8 inches combined with winds gusting as high as 40 mph on top of the light glaze of ice, the NWS said.

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Credit: Marshall Gorby

The City of Springfield’s roughly 25 street crews continue to work in shifts to combat the snow fall and icy roads, but the Springfield City Area Transit suspended service on Thursday, officials announced after determining conditions of area roads were too hazardous for operations.

City officials said bus service will hopefully be restored today when and if weather conditions improve.

The slick roads caused a few slide offs Thursday on Interstate-70. A tractor trailer slid off west I-70 near the 66 mile marker, where the tractor slid into a tree line, causing heavy damage. A separate tractor trailer also slide across the median from the eastbound lane of I-70 into the westbound lane. A third tractor trailer jackknifed off east I-70 near the 66 mile marker. No injuries were reported in any of the three incidents.

Nearly all Clark County offices were closed Thursday, including, but not limited to, government offices; commission offices; court offices; and the health district, which while resume normal hours Friday.

All districts in Clark and Champaign counties closed school on Thursday and were working to determine if school will be closed today as well. Most school athletic practices, games and extracurricular activities were canceled Thursday as well.

In the Springfield City School District, if a decision is not made the night before, it’s made by 5:30 a.m. the next morning.

“The district holds the safety of our students and staff as a top priority... the district wants to assure families that a decision to delay or close school will be made with the well-being of our students in mind,” Superintendent Bob Hill said. “The choice involves weighing the weather conditions against the necessary services our schools provide for our students that they may not receive otherwise.”

Hill said a team of district employees meets to assess conditions by reviewing temperatures, wind chill, and driving and assessing road, sidewalk and parking lot conditions. The team then discusses potential safety concerns, reports from other schools and law enforcement, any weather reports, and information from city and county road crews.

Clark State College will have remote and virtual operations Friday. The college, as well as Wittenberg University, both operated virtually on Thursday.

Several area counties were under a snow emergency Thursday, including Clark and Champaign Counties who were under a Level 1.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office is monitoring roadways to determine emergency snow levels, the office said in a social media post.

Under Ohio law, sheriffs have the responsibility to monitor conditions and declare snow emergencies when it is determined that roads and highway conditions within the county are impaired due to snow and/or ice.

There are three levels of snow emergency in Ohio:

LEVEL 1: Roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Roads are also icy. Drive very cautiously.

LEVEL 2: Roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Only those who feel it is necessary to drive should be out on the roadways. Contact your employer to see if you should report to work.

LEVEL 3: All roadways are closed to non-emergency personnel. No one should be out during these conditions unless it is absolutely necessary to travel. All employees should contact their employer to see if they should report to work. However, those traveling on the roadways may subject themselves to prosecution.

The storm also grounded more flights at area airports, including at the James M. Cox International Airport in Dayton and the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

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