Highway and utility crews cleared major highways in time for Monday morning commuters following the snowstorm that buried parts of Ohio in as much as 20 inches of snow during the weekend.
Cleanup crews had to work overtime to remove snow that started falling Friday and finally let up Saturday evening. While many Ohio workers returned to their offices Monday, schools in Columbus and other central Ohio districts were closed because sidewalks and side streets were still jammed by heaps of snow.
“We’ll have slick spots out there,” cautioned Mary Carran Webster, assistant public service director for Columbus.
The storm battered a wide band from the lower Mississippi Valley to New England, dropping 17.5 inches of snow at St. Agatha, Maine; 14 inches at Milan, Ind.; and up to a foot in parts of Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, western New York state and other parts of Ohio.
Thousands of homes and businesses lost power along the storm’s path.
Ohio had one traffic death linked to the weather, and four men died while shoveling snow. Two traffic deaths were blamed on the storm in western New York state and one in Tennessee. Two people were killed Friday as tornadoes spun out of the eastern edge of the weather system in Florida.
The Ohio Emergency Management Agency was monitoring the cleanup but no counties had declared emergencies and there were no requests for state assistance, officials said.
Relatively dry weather is forecast in the region for the next two to three days, reducing fears of flooding along the Ohio River, said Mike Ryan, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service station in Wilmington.
“At this point, the (snow) melt is going to take a couple of days, so that may keep the river higher, longer,” Ryan said. “But the thought is that isn’t going to be enough water to push the river above flood stage at Cincinnati.”
Flood stage at Cincinnati is 52 feet. The river had reached 51 feet Sunday, causing some minor flooding.