Winter weather blankets area

ST. MARYS — A storm system that blanketed the region with up to 8 inches of snow Sunday has given way to frigid temperatures that the county hasn’t experienced since 1999.

Sunday’s storm, which featured a mix of rain and snow, left the county with a variety of weather conditions. That has given way to temperatures hovering near zero with wind chills approaching minus-40 degrees.

Auglaize County EMA Director Troy Anderson said the dividing line between rain and snow was Ohio 219, near Fort Amanda Road. Until 7 p.m., the area south received rain while the area north received snow much of the day.

“When looking at snow total, the area of St. Marys up through Noble and Salem Township received anywhere from 4 to 8 inches of snow,” Anderson said this morning. “The rest of the area that received rain got about 2 to 3 inches after that rain stopped.”

As the storm system moved on, temperatures plummeted. At 8 a.m. today, the temperature was minus-3 degrees with wind chills of minus-25 degrees. Forecasts call for temperatures to reach minus-12 degrees.

“That’s going to be a big concern today and tomorrow, especially if you have any exposed skin when you are outside,” Anderson said. “It’s the coldest since January 1999.”

Anderson encouraged residents to check on elderly neighbors given the frigid temperatures.

“If you do have an elderly neighbor, take an extra minute and check on them,” Anderson said. “Make a phone call or do a welfare check ... ask them how they are doing.”

Schools and agencies across the region closed today. Anderson said roads are ice covered and some areas have been hit with drifting.

“They are slippery,” Anderson said. “The east/west roads has drifts, and they are deep in some places. The plows are hitting them and opening up some roads, but they are still slippery.”

As of 8 a.m. today, Mercer County was under a Level 3 snow emergency. Auglaize County, which does not use the level system, reported roads as hazardous. 

On Sunday, Dominion East Ohio sent out automated phone calls encouraging residents to conserve usage during the frigid temperatures. In a news release, the company also noted large industrial and commercial users may experience an interruption in service today and Tuesday.

“We are curtailing service to some larger customers to ensure that our residential and critical service customers receive their natural gas supply,” said Scott Miller, vice president and general manager at Dominion East Ohio. “The company wanted to give ample notice to our larger natural gas users so that they can implement their business continuity plans accordingly. We have also notified Lima city officials so that they are aware of the possibility of these planned service interruptions. As always, we want all of our customers to be safe and careful during this extremely cold weather.”

If residential customers experience any service interruptions, they should contact Dominion as soon as possible at 1-800-877-4715.