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01-26-04: Shovels, blades come out in Grand Lake area


Children all over Mercer and Auglaize counties stayed tucked in their beds a little longer this morning as slick roadways caused schools across the Grand Lake St. Marys area to cancel classes by 9 a.m.
Road crews, however, weren’t as lucky. Snow plows hit the streets and highways as early as last evening to clear the way for Monday morning drivers.
“We came out about five o’clock last night already, and were at it all night,” said Jerry Prasuhn, transportation manager for Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) in Mercer County. “Everybody’s still out.”
Prasuhn, at press time today, said crews had cleared all the state roadways and were going back to clean out mailbox areas and applying treatment — a mixture of salt, grit and brine.
“Our salt supply is still good, we’re in great shape so far,” he said. “Now we just sit and wait for the next round.”
The next round may come sooner than local residents desire. Warmer temperatures are expected to turn precipitation into rain tonight after midnight, with freezing rain by morning and another 1-3 inches of snow later in the day Tuesday.
Auglaize County Engineer Doug Reinhart told The Daily Standard this morning his crews hit the roadways at 5 a.m. today and were fighting a freezing drizzle that began a few hours later.
“So far this year, we’ve used about 1,200 tons of pure salt on the 350 miles we travel,” Reinhart said, adding that the county still has about 2,000 tons of salt and salt mixed with limestone in stock.
Reinhart reminded drivers to use extra caution when approaching bare pavement.
“The packed down snow is safer actually. When you see bare pavement, you tend to think you’re OK. Not today. The drizzle out there right now is making black ice and that’s much more dangerous,” he said.
On a positive note, the freezing rain could put a hard crust on the snow, preventing it from drifting across the roads, Reinhart added.
No major accidents was reported this morning due to the hazardous road conditions. Although there were no shortages of vehicles veering off into the ditches, according to the Wapakoneta post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol and Mercer County 911 Dispatch.
Mercer County Engineer James Wiechart is reminding motorists to be aware of snow plow trucks on county roads this winter. Wiechart asks drivers not to tailgate snow plows, to leave plenty of room for the plow truck as it approaches intersections and to refrain from passing plow trucks. Also, Wiechart asks drivers to remove abandoned and parked cars along county roads to allow for quick plowing.
The National Weather Service is keeping a winter weather advisory in effect all day today for Mercer and Auglaize counties. Meteorologist Mike Ryan of Wilmington said precipitation today will be lighter than Sunday when 3 to 4 inches of snow fell in west central Ohio.
“A warmer air mass is moving in and a sleet and snow mix will be around most of the day today,” Ryan said. “It’s going to struggle to get to 28 degrees today.”
Winds will remain about 10-15 mph today, but that will change Tuesday as they pick up by afternoon to 15-20 mph, he said.
Colder air will arrive Tuesday with a chance of freezing rain again in the morning, changing to snow later in the day. The chance of snow will decrease Tuesday night, and guess what?
“Wednesday things appear to improve,” Ryan said. “We might even see some sunshine.”
— Daily Standard reporter Sean Rice contributed to this story.


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The Standard Printing Company
P.O. Box 140, Celina, OH 45822


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