After rain, heavy snowfall and blowing winds moved through the area Sunday night and Monday, Seneca County remained at a Level 3 Emergency throughout the day.
Seneca County Sheriff Bill Eckelberry said road crews worked through Monday to clear roads, but heavy winds and blowing snow made visibility and progress nearly impossible for the snowplow drivers.
"The winds are just not cooperating with us," he said. "The (snowplow) drivers are stopping their trucks in the middle of the roadways because they can't see."
PHOTO BY PAT GAIETTO
Lee Burlile clears off a sidewalk on Melmore Street Monday afternoon.
Eckelberry described the conditions as a whiteout and said that Monday afternoon, the wind chill reading was around minus 35.
"It's pretty nasty out there," he said.
Under a Level 3 Emergency, drivers are not to be on the roadways unless it is absolutely necessary to travel or a personal emergency exists. Eckelberry said if a driver is going to and from work under a Level 3 Emergency, they probably won't receive a ticket. If someone is caught driving on the roadways without that purpose or without an emergency, a ticket is likely.
According to the National Weather Service, frigid temperatures are expected again today as wind chill values are forecast to range of minus 20 to minus 40 degrees, the coldest air in the region since 1994.
With such cold temperatures, frostbite to exposed skin is possible within minutes, according to NWS. People are advised to avoid going outdoors.
NWS also forecast winds will gust up to 35 mph today with blowing snow.
Wind chill values are expected to rise to above zero by tomorrow afternoon.
Eckelberry said to help deputies travel safely around the county, Tiffin Ford has loaned the sheriff's office two four-wheel-drive vehicles. They are unmarked, but have Seneca County Sheriff's Office license plates and portable emergency lights, he said.
"Tiffin Ford has been very supportive," he said.
Eckelberry said Monday afternoon that no major problems had been reported in the county due to the weather. According to sheriff's office reports, vehicles were reported in ditches Monday, but there were no injuries.
In Tiffin, a power outage was reported Monday evening in the area of Dallas Street and Augusta Lane after a breaker blew due to the weather. Parts of Devon House and Tall Trees also were affected, Chief Bill Ennis of Tiffin Fire and Rescue said.
Ennis said the isolated power outage did not force any evacuations and AEP was at the scene to repair it.
A power outage also was reported in the county Monday night. Firefighters were called to a sparking power pole in the 3000 block of US 23.
A Seneca County Sheriff's spokeswoman said about 150 were affected by the outage. AEP estimated the power to return around 1:30 a.m.