ST. MARYS — High winds and blowing snow cut visibility and caused delays and cancellations across the county today.
The first measurable snowfall of the new year hit Thursday and into this morning, bringing 1 to 3 inches of snow across the region. In Auglaize County, EMA Director Troy Anderson said the high winds, which could top 40 mph today, are cutting visibility.
“Right now I am monitoring the road conditions with these high winds,” Anderson said this morning. “The biggest problems seem to be with the north/south roads and poor visibility.”
Anderson said he planned to monitor the weather throughout the day, posting updates on the EMA’s Facebook page.
“I’ll be driving the roads and checking them out,” Anderson said. “It looks like the worst places will be the north/south roads because the wind is blowing the snow across and creating poor visibility. The rest of the roads look decent.”
Auglaize County Engineer Doug Reinhart said crews are making rounds to tamp down any snow drifts that popped up on county roads. However, Reinhart noted the wind is doing much of the work.
“The wind is just blowing it across the roadways,” Reinhart said. “If we tried to put grit or beet juice down, it would catch the snow instead of letting it blow across. With the 40 mph winds, we will use a very minimal amount of salt, if any at all. I feel with these temperatures, it would make the road wet and catch the snow and make a drift.”
Crews are expected to make rounds throughout the day as the winds die down.
“We’ll be out to make sure there is nothing out there to cause a traffic hazard,” Reinhart said. “We will probably consume more fuel than anything today.”
As of this morning, Reinhart said his crews had yet to come across any traffic crashes.
“Everyone seems to be taking their time,” Reinhart said. “I think they see the poor visibility and they are being cautious and driving slow.”
Lt. Scott Carrico of the Wapakoneta Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said troopers had yet to see any weather-related crashes as of this morning.
“Right now it’s just drifting and blowing snow,” Carrico said. “Just be extremely cautious and watch for areas with drifts where the snow is blowing. You could have whiteout conditions and visibility goes to zero where you have open roads. Just drive slow and use your headlights.”