By MORGAN MANNS
After a couple days of spring-like weather, Old Man Winter came storming back into the tri-county area, reminding community members what season it is.
And as the storm made its way toward the city, citizens rushed to local stores to grab necessities.
Kroger officials reported an influx of traffic in the days just before Friday, with people flocking in to grab items such as bread, milk and water, “among other things.”
“Any time we get weather reports like that, it’s pretty typical (for us to see) a bigger volume of customers,” a Kroger representative said Friday, explaining the company planned ahead to ensure the store didn’t run out of those popular items.
While community members flocked to Kroger for grocery items, Kmart general store Manager Rhonda Risner said they visit the chain store for items that take care of the elements.
“It’s pretty typical before storms hit to see people come in for items to take care of the slick,” she said, listing items such as ice melt and shovels.
She explained Kmart sold out of snowblowers when the last storm hit on Christmas Eve and is not anticipating getting anymore this season.
However, the store is still stocked with all other necessities to brave the storm.
Community members and local shops weren’t the only ones who prepared for the winter weather. Most area schools closed Friday due to weather forecasts.
Although the morning’s commute was simply wet, colder temperatures caused the rain to turn to sleet and then snow.
The National Weather Service was calling for freezing rain and sleet before 1 p.m. Friday, turning into snow after 2 p.m. as temperatures fell below freezing and resulting in “difficult travel conditions.”
Area schools that closed included Fostoria City Schools, St. Wendelin Catholic School, Arcadia Local School, Elmwood Local School, Hopewell-Loudon Local School, Lakota Local School, New Riegel Local School, Old Fort Local Schools, North Central Academy and the Seneca County Opportunity Center closed Friday due to the winter weather threat.
Wind gusts of up to 30 mph were possible, causing “significant blowing and drifting of snow,” according to the NWS. Wind chill values were expected to hit minus 7 Friday night.
Up to one-tenth of an inch of ice accumulation was anticipated with snow accumulations of 1-3 inches throughout the day with additional snow accumulation possible in the evening.
The storm will subside and the area may see a bit of sunshine today with highs near 17. Winds are expected to continue today with wind chill values of minus 7. Winds will calm tonight and the temperature will jump back up to 19 degrees Sunday.
Another smaller chance of snow is possible Sunday night.