Skaters happy as snow keeps people home

By Mary Beth Breckenridge
Beacon Journal staff writer

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Xander McCullough (left), 17, and Joseph Clelland 16, of Cuyahoga Falls, walk home along Lincoln Avenue after sledding at Bolich Middle School on Saturday in Cuyahoga Falls. (Phil Masturzo/Akron Beacon Journal)

To Kristin Opsincs, Saturday’s snowstorm was the ideal weather for ice skating at downtown Akron’s Lock 3 Park.

That’s because the blustery conditions kept everybody else away. “It was perfect,” the 34-year-old West Akron resident said.

While snow-coated roads and brisk winds discouraged many Northeast Ohioans from leaving home, Opsincs shared an otherwise-empty rink with friends Hannah Lines, 23, of Bath Township, Lisa Winchell, 31, of Rittman, and Greg Stutzman, 33, of Sugarcreek. They were there for the annual skating outing for their life group — a small study group — at Grace Church in Bath.

Several members of the group didn’t make it, but the slick roads didn’t deter the four.

“Except for my driveway,” Lines said. “I almost didn’t get out of it.”

Plenty of others across the region were experiencing similar problems as about 2 to 7 inches of snow piled up throughout the day, said meteorologist Kirk Lombardy of the National Weather Service at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

Gusting wind compounded the mess, reducing drivers’ visibility and blowing snow into drifts that made roads treacherous and inclines hard to navigate.

Winter-weather and wind-chill advisories were in effect throughout the day. Medina County issued a Level 2 snow emergency, which discourages people from driving unless they believe it is necessary.

By 11 a.m. Saturday, snowfall totals in the Akron area ranged from 1.1 inches in Wooster to 4.5 inches in Mantua, and the snow kept coming. Lombardy expected the numbers to be significantly higher by the next report late Saturday.

Police departments across the area reported countless fender-benders, spinouts and cars off the road.

The slippery conditions caused a number of accidents on Interstate 76 east of Akron late Saturday morning, forcing the closing of the westbound lanes from state Route 532 in Tallmadge to Akron’s central interchange for about 2½ hours. The accidents included a semitrailer that jackknifed, but Akron police could not provide details late Saturday afternoon or say whether anyone was injured.

Multiple accidents also prompted the closing of westbound I-480 at Frost Road in Streetsboro from shortly after 11 a.m. to about 12:30 p.m.

Parking was banned on city streets in several communities to give snowplows access to the roads. Among the cities banning on-street parking were Cuyahoga Falls, until 10 p.m. today; Hudson, until 7 p.m.; Stow, until 9 p.m.; Green, until 6 p.m.; and Brunswick, until 9:10 a.m. Norton and Wadsworth also declared parking bans, but for indefinite periods.

Another inch or so of snow is expected to fall today, with temperatures expected to reach 24 degrees during the day and fall to 10 overnight, the National Weather Service says.

Expect another deep freeze to follow. The weather service says the temperature will drop early in the week and bottom out on Tuesday, when the temperature is expected to reach only about 2 degrees during the day and plummet to about 10 degrees below zero Tuesday night.

Mary Beth Breckenridge can be reached at 330-996-3756 or mbrecken@thebeaconjournal.com. You can also become a fan on Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/mbbreck, follow her on Twitter @MBBreckenridge and read her blog at www.ohio.com/blogs/mary-beth.


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