Residents Stay Off Roads in Snow Emergency

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HURON COUNTY, OH -- Weather conditions got so bad in some parts of the area Monday that authorities were telling residents not to venture out on the roads.

"I've been the sheriff for five years. I've never, ever issued a Level 3 before," said Huron County Sheriff Dane Howard.

Monday at 12 p.m., Sheriff Howard issued a Level 3 Snow Emergency -- the highest level there is.  That means only safety forces are allowed to drive in the county unless there is an emergency.

"So if someone's just driving to a friend's house, they can get a ticket?  In theory, yes. That's not our intent, that's not our purpose behind this. Our purpose is to give notice to get off the roadway, open the roadways for the plows and to lessen the burden on emergency personnel and to keep them safe...all persons safe," the Sheriff said.

Some county roads are still snow covered, but the depth of the snow isn't the concern.  Winds, expected to gust up to 40 miles an hour, are taking the visibility down to zero in some areas, especially in the rural parts of the county.

"I was driving down the road and the truck quit, froze up on me," said truck driver Vince Zawacky.

Zawacky had to have his rig towed out of a ditch south of Norwalk. He believes the cold weather caused it to break down.

"Driving down the road here, it's zero visibility. You got all that snow blowing across the road here and then the truck just quit and I had to get off the side of the road and I went down in the ditch," said Zawacky.

The Sheriff's Department says if something were to happen -- if a car were to stall or you were to break down -- you could get frostbite in just a matter of minutes and it would take them at least ten minutes to even get to you.

"The coldest I've been in ten years," said Erie County resident Terry Jalkanen.

The situation is similar in neighboring Erie County where a Level 3 Snow Emergency was also issued.  Route 2, a major thoroughfare, was passable, but still snow-covered in parts by mid-day.

"The roads are completely horrible as you can see, you don't even want to be out. Here comes a snow plow right now, if you don't have to be out in it, don't be out in it," said Jalkanen.

Click here for more information on local snow emergencies.