Weather forecasters seemed to have missed the mark on last Friday’s intense round of snowfall, as only one inch or less was predicted for the morning hours, but as you are likely aware, this was not at all the case.
Drivers in the Miami Valley were obviously caught off-guard as well during the morning commute of January 17, with almost 50 automobile accidents reported within a four-hour time period in Clark County alone.
Clark County Sheriff Gene Kelly said the intense snowfall and quickly-deteriorating road conditions led to more than 40 crashes or slide-off accidents between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. “Since 9:52 a.m. this morning, we have taken 36 crashes, and are currently on five right now,” Kelly said, making a total of 41 crashes at the time the statement was issued.
Sheriff Kelly also said the multitude of crashes and slide-offs led to the closure of Interstate 70 westbound between the 49 mile marker and 54 mile marker. As Sheriff Kelly issued the statement, his department was taking many more calls of accidents at the same time. “All available patrol cars our on the streets,” said the Sheriff, adding that he had even dispatched many unmarked unit detectives in attempt to stay caught-up with the number of accidents.
“I cannot remember when we have had the numbers we are having today for several years,” Kelly said of the snowfall, which created white-out conditions in many locations around the county. “Wet snow and speed are what causes crashes on the interstate, people will not slow down,” said Kelly. A Level One Snow Emergency was issued in Clark County at 11 a.m. Friday morning after Kelly spoke with the Clark County Engineer, whose department was “not able to stay ahead of the falling wet snow,” according to the Sheriff. The Snow Emergency remained in effect until late Friday night into Saturday morning.
Three vehicles were involved in an accident on South Tecumseh Road Friday morning as heavy snow rapidly created white-out conditions.
A tractor trailer was traveling northbound on South Tecumseh Road in between Rebert Pike and Broadway Road when it reportedly sideswiped a southbound Greenon school bus, and then collided with a car that was following the bus.
Enon Fire Department Deputy Chief/Road Supervisor Elmer Beard said no children were onboard the school bus when it was hit, as it was being transported between district buildings for maintenance. Beard said the timing of the accident was relatively fortunate, as buses on that route usually transport small children on every day except Friday.
Beard said the driver of the maroon car suffered serious injuries, but was talking at the scene of the crash. That driver was transported by ambulance to the hospital after Care Flight was called, but could not fly in the thick snow.
The Enon Eagle spoke with many drivers in the county who said that Friday’s conditions were the worst they could remember driving in—most of whom placed the blame on the errant forecast, not township road crews, who just could not keep up with the intense snow that seemingly came down in buckets. We checked three different weather prediction sources Thursday evening ahead of the snow—NOAA, The National Weather Service in Wilmington, and The Weather Channel—all of which called for approximately one inch of accumulation. We know that they can’t be right all of the time, but that round of precipitation was heavier, wetter, and just all-around nastier than any other snowfall this winter—and we’ve had a lot of them already.
The Farmer’s Almanac shows no end in sight for the Great Lakes region in their long-range forecast, with snow being predicted into the later weeks of March. If anyone’s keeping track, the Almanac calls for colder conditions with widespread fog through the 27th, with heavy rain and snow predicted for the Ohio Valley from January 28 to 31. They’re also calling for snow with some rain mixed in for the entire month of February, with unseasonably cold temperatures and snow lasting into the last week of March.
Don’t lose hope, Enon, as before long, it will be summer, and we’ll be complaining about the heat. Ohio certainly takes its seasons to the heart of all extremes.