Storm warnings in effect through this morning
By William K. Alcorn
Roads were snow-covered and slippery early Saturday afternoon, leaving numerous vehicles in the ditches along state Route 11 north and south of Youngstown and elsewhere in Trumbull and Mahoning counties.
However, that spate of mishaps, an estimated five or six at about the same time along Route 11 just south of state Route 82 and 10 or 15 on Route 11 south of state Route 46, resulted in few if any serious injuries, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
One of the vehicles that slid into a ditch was a tanker-truck exiting the Ohio Turnpike onto Interstate 76 whose tanks split open and leaked into a creek that runs into the Meaner Reservoir that supplies water to several communities.
Officials said the fuel was cleaned up and did not find its way into the water supply.
The Trumbull County 911 Center reported vehicle crashes, one in Howland on state Route 82 and another in the 6000 block of Highland Avenue in Lordstown.
However, as of about 4:40 p.m., the Trumbull 911 supervisor said, the effects of the storm “were not as bad as anticipated and no one was seriously hurt. We were not anywhere near as busy as we expected to be. Maybe people heeded the warnings and stayed home.”
However, Saturday’s activity was just the beginning of Winter Storm Harper that was predicted to dump up to a foot of snow in some areas before abating this morning.
According to the National Weather Service in Cleveland on Saturday, winter storm warnings were in effect through 10 a.m. today with an overnight accumulation of 6 to 10 inches expected.
As of Friday afternoon, 21 Stormtracker Chief Meteorologist Eric Wilhelm was predicting about 9 to 12 inches of snow from Saturday morning through Sunday morning.
Also, according to the NWS, winds of 10 to 15 miles per hour, with gusts up to 30 miles per hour, were possible and could cause drifting and problems keeping the roads clear.
The area’s biggest storm to date this winter is also causing numerous event cancellations and postponements Saturday and today, including many churches foregoing Sunday services.
Also, with subfreezing and even subzero temperatures expected to follow the snow, the Wellsville Volunteer Fire Department says the village hall will serve as a warming center if needed in the event of an extended power outage and advised residents to check the department’s Facebook page for updates.