Roads remain slick yet some welcome winter's arrival

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The weather is turning the roads more treacherous this afternoon, with several counties declaring snow emergencies and Columbus Police no longer responding to non-injury crashes.

But Ol’ Man Winter’s arrival didn’t just create havoc around central Ohio; he also brought some squeals of delight and lots of joy for some.

Matt and Kristen Vollrath were excited to give their young daughter, Nora, her first snow experience. She helped dad clear snow around their house in the morning, then the family headed from their home in Columbus’ Eastmoor neighborhood to Bexley’s Jeffrey Park for some sledding.

“We’re excited,” Kristen Vollrath said as they approached the sled hill near Jeffrey Mansion. “It’s fun. She’s two, so it’s the first time she’s gotten to play in the snow.”

Nora lasted about ten minutes, but for the record, she got in her first-ever downhill run on her red plastic sled.

Also at Jeffrey Park was 9-year-old Julia Atkins. She had been raring to go sledding all morning, but her dad, Chris, told her it would be better if they waited. So a little after noon they were out on the park’s hill, where tree trunks are shielded by stuffed black plastic bags. Was she having a blast?

“If I hit a black bag, it’s a yes,” Julia said. “If I don’t, it’s a yes.”

 She veered into a bag. “It’s a yes!” she yelled.

The first significant snowfall of the season arrived just as predicted. A National Weather Service meteorologist was spot on when he predicted that the snow would begin to fall in central Ohio between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m.

It did indeed seem to be just a few minutes after 7 this morning when the skies started spitting snow. It quickly picked up. By 1:30 p.m., the Ohio Department of Transportation said it had more than 1,000 crews out plowing and treating across the state. There was a steady flow of slide-offs and crashes around the area through the morning and into afternoon. At about 1:30 p.m. there were crashes in multiple locations on the Outerbelt — including one with a vehicle that rolled over — on Interstate 270 at Route 23 on the North Side and on I-270 south on the East Side.

A couple of inches of snow blanketed most of central Ohio by mid-afternoon. Conditions seems to vary around the state, with some of the heaviest snow in southwestern Ohio near Dayton. Several counties across the central Ohio region had issued Level 1 snow emergencies by mid-afternoon, however. They included, Athens, Champaign, Hocking, Logan, Morgan, Pickaway Perry and Vinton counties.

>> Check here for the latest Dispatch.com weather updates

A winter weather advisory has been issued for central Ohio through 7 a.m. Sunday. Brian Coniglio was the meteorologist at the NWS in Wilmington who made the prediction as to when the storm would hit central Ohio. He said Columbus might receive as many as four inches, with Marysville topping out at 5 inches. Less snow is expected to fall to the east, with Newark, for example, getting maybe 3 1/2 inches.

John Glenn International Airport is reminding travelers to check their flights carefully today to see if there are delays.

Winter Weather Update:
Our Snow Warriors will continue to service Columbus roadways. They have now transitioned into Priority 2 routes with 70 units deployed.#winter #snow #Columbus #SnowWarriors

— ColumbusDPS (@ColumbusDPS) January 12, 2019

Remember, you can track snow removal in the city of Columbus online at https://warriorwatch.columbus.gov/ww

So the message for today? Well, let’s just quote the legendary Police Sgt. Phil Esterhaus (What? Are you not Hill Street Blues fans?): “Let’s be careful out there.”

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