Spring begins at 12:57 p.m. March 20.
Not that this winter has left anyone counting the hours. For lovers of bone-chilling cold, torrential rain, blustery wind, sleet, snow, icy roads and white-out conditions, Wednesday offered it all.
It began with driving rain, which switched to snow and sleet by late morning and afternoon. About 4 to 6 inches of snow fell in Lorain County accompanied by wind gusts of about 40 mph, said Mark Adams, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Cleveland office.
Another half-inch was forecast to fall between midnight and early this morning. Through 9 p.m. Wednesday, 75.4 inches of snow has fallen in the region this winter, about 29 percent above the nearly 58-inch average at this point in the winter.
The weather caused Mill Hollow in Lorain County Metro Parks Vermilion Reservation to flood, said Jim Ziemnik, Metro Parks director. He said flooding is expected to close North Ridge Road by the park today.
While park rangers were monitoring flooding, Elyria and Lorain snowplow drivers had their eyes on the roads. About 20 trucks plowed or salted beginning at about 6 a.m. Wednesday in Lorain, according to Lori Garcia, Lorain street superintendent. About 10 were scheduled to plow overnight into this morning. Garcia said about 200 tons of salt were used Wednesday and Lorain has about 300 tons remaining.
Mary Siwierka, Elyria safety-service director, said about 25 to 30 trucks plowed and salted in Elyria beginning about 9 a.m. and would continue overnight. She said at least 200 tons of salt were used and said Elyria has enough in reserve in the event of more snow.
Despite the efforts of city, county and Ohio Department of Transportation plows, dozens of vehicle accidents occurred countywide Wednesday. However, no fatalities or serious injuries were reported in the county by 11 p.m. Wednesday.
“Horrible” is how trooper Jeff Boris of the Ohio Highway Patrol’s Elyria post described driving conditions. The post responded to 20 crashes in the county between 6 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Accidents included two jack-knifed tractor-trailers by the intersection of Interstate 90 and state Route 57 around 3:30 p.m.
Between noon and 4 p.m., 15 to 20 cars had been abandoned on I-90 eastbound in Elyria Township between state Routes 57 and 611 after drivers spun off the highway and got stuck.
Driver Deena Knapp of Elyria had better luck. Knapp, an Old Navy retail assistant, had the day off from work but ventured out for groceries and gas.
“I’m just taking it slow and hoping this will be the last of this,” she said.
While Knapp was only out briefly, Giselle Zielinski of Grafton Township didn’t have that luxury. Zielinski is a deliverywoman for Car Parts Warehouse in Lorain.
Zielinski said she was on the road all day and experienced numerous close calls, including encountering whiteout conditions.
“I just held on for dear life,” she said. “I’ve got such a headache.”
Driver Cheryl Henning of Lorain had to drive to work at a Parma nursing home and said “idiots” driving too fast for conditions made traveling dangerous.
Include Henning among those counting the days until the end of winter.
“It’s ending soon,” she said. “That’s what I keep telling myself.”