Winter storm blows through Miami County


TROY — Looks like those hoping for a white Christmas will get their wish this year, but along with the small amount of snow that fell Thursday night, came bitter cold, high wind and frigid temperatures.

The National Weather Service reports Friday morning of high wind up to 22 mph, with up to 37 mph gusts; and cold temperatures at -7 degrees, -37 degrees with the wind chill. The very low temperatures and wind is what appears to be the biggest issue brought by the winter storm for Miami County as of Friday morning, Dec. 23.

Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak said, Friday morning, there hasn’t been any major issues caused by the weather in the county so far.

“No crashes, just several slide-offs and a few vehicles stuck in drifts overnight, primarily on west side of the county. County crews were back out at 5 (a.m). Ice is the bigger issue, as it is too cold for anything to work on it,” he said by email. “Traffic has been minimal which is a big help for crews.”

However, later Friday afternoon, as the strong winds continued, a level 2 snow emergency was declared by Duchak. He requested everyone who does not have to be on the roadways to please stay home.

“Since then (at 12:45 p.m. when the level 2 was declared), conditions have continued to deteriorate,” said Duchak, “and highways in rural areas are drifting closed.”

West of Troy on state Route 41, has large drifts that caused a number of slide-offs and vehicles stuck on Friday afternoon. Wind gusts near 50 mph are causing roadways to drift closed as quickly as road crews can get to them with plows.

Duchak asks motorist to stay off the highways “unless absolutely necessary” through Saturday afternoon, both for the safety of motorists and to keep roads free of traffic for emergency vehicles to respond when called.

Paul Huelskamp, Miami County engineer, said drivers were out from 8 p.m. Thursday night until midnight laying salt and working to clear the roads. Then they started plowing the roads again at 5 a.m. Friday morning. He also said traffic had been down at that point, which helps the snow trucks do their job.

When asked how it’s going in the county at around 9:30 a.m Friday, he said with a chuckle, “Well, bad. The roads are pretty bad.”

“Blowing and drifting wind is bad and the temperature is low, and so we are doing the best we can,” Huelskamp noted.

There are 15 snow plows out across the county working to clear roads and lay down rock salt, along with a fine gravel to help provide some traction, Huelskamp said. He acknowledged that when the temperature drops below 14 degrees, the salt isn’t nearly as effective, so they put down a fine, sandy gravel to help with traction.

Some power outages have been reported across the county, but as of Friday morning, AES Ohio is reporting close to 400 outages in Miami County. Pioneer Electric Corporation, as of 11:30 a.m. Friday, shows no outages, and the Piqua Power System also reports no power outages.

Troy’s Director of Public Service and Safety Patrick Titterington said by email Friday morning the city of Troy hasn’t faced any major issues at that point because of the weather after Miami Valley Today reached out for information.

“On behalf of Mayor (Robin) Oda, thanks for reaching out. Our crews were out last night between 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. salting all main and secondary streets. We plowed all main and secondary streets this morning due to drifting. We have had no issues related to outages, utilities, or other matters.”

The city of Piqua also has not had any power outages, according to the Ed Krieger, director of the Piqua Power System, Friday morning.

“The Piqua Power System has not experienced any power outages since the winter storm moved into our area last evening. Our employees will remain on-call through the holiday weekend, should response be needed,” said Krieger by email.

The NWS reports on Friday there is slight chance of snow, with areas of blowing snow. It will be mostly cloudy and cold, with a high near 0. Wind chill values as low as -32. And it will be windy, with a west wind 29 to 31 mph, and gusts as high as 48 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%. Later Friday night, there will be a slight chance of snow before 10 p.m., with patchy blowing snow. It will be cloudy, with a low around -3. and wind chill values as low as -26. It will be windy, with a west wind 22 to 31 mph, and gusts as high as 47 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

On Saturday on Christmas Eve, the NWS calls for patchy blowing snow before 1 p.m. It will be mostly cloudy and cold, with a high near 10. Wind chill values as low as -23. It will be breezy, with a west wind 21 to 24 mph, with gusts as high as 37 mph. That night it is expected to be mostly cloudy, with a low around 3 and wind chill values as low as -12. It is expected to be breezy, with a west wind 15 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph.

On Sunday on Christmas day, it is expected to be mostly sunny, with a high near 14. West wind 13 to 16 mph. And Christmas night, the forecast is partly cloudy, with a low around 3.

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