GREENVILLE – Darke County residents awoke to blankets of ice over the weekend. And, the ice still lingers on parking lots, roadways and sidewalks making it dangerous for area residents.
Light freezing rain, light snow and fog turned streets and sidewalks into deadly sheets of ice this weekend. Cars were encapsulated, making motorists spend extra time carving them out. Wind chill readings sunk into the zero to ten-below range, according to the National Weather Service, with temperatures ranging from 5 to 20 degrees.
Salt trucks helped to reduce the icy road conditions. According to Darke County Highway Superintendent Shane Coby, about one half inch of ice accumulated on Friday and Saturday and about another half inch on Sunday. The trucks were out for about 12 hours Saturday and eight on Sunday.
“When it comes to ice, we would gladly trade it for about one foot of snow,” Coby said. “Yes, the snow makes problems, but with freezing rain – type ice, the potential for dangerous travel is greatly magnified. When you have a 42,000 pound truck on the ice and you virtually have no control while traveling as slow as five mph, it is a very dangerous situation. We had about 10 trucks that had tire chains on them as well.”
Despite their efforts, between Friday, Dec. 16 and Sunday, Dec. 18, 17 ice-related accidents came through the Darke County Sheriff’s Office. Two were hit and skips involving hitting a sign or mailbox and leaving the scene; two involved injuries and 13 were non-injury accidents.
According to the Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Mark Whittaker the office was receiving reports of more crashes Monday. It is wise for motorists to pay attention to weather-related sources, so they can stay apprised of the best course to prevent an accident, he advised. Additionally, he asked folks to heed the following advice to ensure safe driving.
“When there is an ice storm, do not go on the roadways if you can avoid it,” he said. “Slow down – that is imperative. Wear a seat-belt – I can’t stress that enough. There is nothing more disturbing than when someone is ejected from a vehicle because they were not wearing a seat belt, that could have saved their life. It is a sad situation. Make sure you are using child restraints if hauling children. Slow down and don’t be lulled into comfortable higher speeds when driving long distances on these open Darke County roads. We have long stretches with fields on both sides, that seem nice and clear. You get on a road that seems clear and you can run into dark ice. People panic, hit the breaks and go into a spin.”
Due to the bad weather, Monday’s school closings included Ansonia Local Schools, Arcanum Butler, Bradford, Franklin Monroe, Mississinawa Valley, Tri-Village and Versailles Exempted Village Schools was on a two-hour delay. Due to continued ice and cold, some schools were on a two-hour delay on Tuesday.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), weather has a habit of changing pretty quickly, especially during the winter season.
“Powerful winter storms driven by jet streams that often exceed 200 miles per hour can bring copious amounts of snow and ice, along with blowing snow and whiteout conditions. In some cases the temperature can drop more than 50 degrees in a matter of hours. If travelers don’t check the weather forecast and plan accordingly, these fast-changing conditions can be a matter of life or death when we are on the road,” the NWS said.
“You need to understand how dangerous the roads can be and be prepared to drive defensively.” Whittaker said.
For more information, visit http://www.weather.gov.
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