April 23, 2014

Elyria
Partly sunny
49°F
test

First significant winter snow is expected today

The world may or may not end today, but one thing is for sure — there will be snow.

The National Weather Service in Cleveland issued a winter storm warning beginning at 4 this morning to 7 p.m. Saturday. Lorain County residents can expect three to six inches of snow and wind gusts of up to 45 mph, said meteorologist Martin Thompson.

Thompson said temperatures today and Saturday will be in the mid-30s. The storm will mark the first “official snow” of the winter for the area.

“This year, we’ve had some cold air, but it didn’t stay,” Thompson said.

December has been unseasonably warm with temperatures in the 50s and 60s throughout the month. Thompson said the warm weather could be attributed to a jet stream that stayed north, pushing the cold air away.

During the storm, residents are asked to use caution on the roadways as wind gusts may cause low visibility and dangerous driving conditions.

The Sandusky dispatch center of the Ohio Highway Patrol said troopers are not taking additional precautions but are treating the storm as they would any other.

“We’re ready for anything that comes our way, but we’re just going to treat this as a normal storm and be prepared,” said an employee of the dispatch center.

The Ohio Department of Transportation is warning motorists in ice and snow to “take it slow,” especially on interstates and state-maintained highways where speeds are faster and traffic volumes are higher.

ODOT Director Jerry Wray said in a news release that many motorists may have forgotten these safe-driving habits.

“Because of last year’s mild winter, many of Ohio’s motorists haven’t driven in significant ice and snow in about 20 months,” he said.

Last winter, there were 16,167 winter-related crashes on Ohio’s roads.

ODOT trucks will use green-colored strobe lights on its snowplow trucks for the first time this year. According to the release, studies show that green lights are more easily detected by the human eye than other colors.

The green lights will be added with new white lights to the existing amber lights on the trucks.

Safe driving

Plan ahead: Before leaving home, find out about driving conditions by going to ODOT’s website, www.BuckeyeTraffic.org or follow ODOT on Facebook and Twitter.

See and be seen: Remove any snow on your vehicle’s windows, lights, brake lights and signals.

Check the clock: Leave plenty of time to reach your destination safely.

Turn on your lights: If you need to turn on your wipers, turn on your headlights. It’s the law.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com.