SIDNEY — The combination of rain and ice, which fell on the area overnight, caused all of the schools in Shelby and Auglaize counties, along with some in Darke and Miami counties, to cancel school Tuesday.
Sidney City Schools Superintendent John Scheu made two calls Tuesday morning through the district’s notification system. The first call placed the district on a two-hour delay. The second call, received around 7:15 a.m., canceled school for all students and staff.
“After driving the roads for the past 2 1/2 hours,” said Scheu in the message, “has convinced me that because of the treacherous side road conditions, parking lots and also the sidewalks, it will be necessary to close schools to today (Tuesday) for Sidney City Schools.”
Scheu concluded his message with “Please be careful and enjoy your day off.”
The other superintendents in the county also started the day off with a two-hour delay.
“Icy road conditions came on in a hurry and made the district a sheet of ice,” said Fairlawn Local Schools Superintendent Jeff Hobbs. “Once the temperature rose the roads were pretty clear, but that didn’t happen until we had to make a decision to cancel.”
Versailles Local School District Superintendent Aaron Moran said he received a call from the district’s maintenance employee at 5 a.m. with concerns about the slick roads.
“The state routes were in good condition from being treated with salt. The back roads were very slick and do not get salted,” said Moran. “I decided to delay allow for some time for the roads to unfreeze. I contacted a couple of township employees to get their input on road conditions. The conditions were not changing sufficiently enough to allow for school transportation. I then canceled school.”
Jackson Center Local School District was also on a two-hour delay Tuesday morning.
“Jackson Center delayed with the hope that the weather would warm up and the ice on the roads, sidewalks and our parking lots had a chance to melt,.” said Superintendent Bill Reichert. “Unfortunately, it did not and we closed. I try to measure the safety of our buses and student drivers by whether I slide (especially at intersections) on our main roads and back roads when driving or tapping my brakes.”
Fort Loramie Local Schools received word from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office about the road conditions.
“Our call from the Sheriff’s Department came at about 4:45 a.m. this morning,” said Superintendent Dan Holland. “Based on the roads I drove and our parking lots and sidewalks in the district, I chose to delay. I chose a delay because the weather reports coming out indicated that the temperature was to rise significantly and quickly this morning.
“My hope was that by the time our buses were going to be going out after the delay, the roads may have improved. We also are very lucky that our county and township personnel work very hard to treat and clear roadways,” Holland said. “At about 7 a.m., after checking the roadways again, it was evident that the temperature had not risen to a point that the roadways in our district would have been safe for travel by our students and buses so we chose to close our school.”
Hardin-Houston Local School District Superintendent Larry Claypool said they were hoping to buy some time with the two-hour delay.
“Knowing it was going to get warmer and melt the ice, we tried to buy some time with the two-hour delay,” said Claypool. “We couldn’t buy enough time and we couldn’t hold the buses any longer, so we had to cancel.”
Both the New Knoxville and New Bremen Local Schools superintendents had hoped weather conditions would clear up and their students would be in the classroom Tuesday.
“It is always my hope that the students are in school learning, but a two hour delay allows me to see the ground and what is coming out of the sky,” said New Knoxville Superintendent Kim Waterman. “It was my hopes the temperature would have gotten warmer a little bit quicker then it did. To give families time to plan for their day, decisions have to be made earlier then I would like. At the time a decision needed to be made to close, the back roads, sidewalks and our parking lot were still extremely icy.”
“New Bremen delayed early this morning (Tuesday) due to falling freezing precipitation,” said Superintendent Dr. Andrea Townsend. “Upon re-evaluation of the icy roads, the district felt the roads were not safe enough to transport students to school and closed.”
Shelby County Engineer Bob Geuy said his foreman was received a page about the road conditions at 3:30 Tuesday morning. After reviewing the situation, the rest of the engineer’s office employees were called out and began hitting the roads between 4-4:30 a.m.
“We had 13 snow routes going,” said Geuy. “We had 16 workers in.”
Geuy said 150 tons of pure sale or a salt/grit mixture were used by the crews.
“The traffic caused us problems,” said Geuy. “There were a lot of cars in the ditch so our drivers would stop and make sure those drivers were OK.
“They also had to go 5 to 10 mph (because of the ice) so it took them a while to get around.”
Geuy said pure salt was used on County Road 25A.
“Most of our guys are back in,” said Geuy. “The temperatures have dissipated the ice.
“Now we’re getting reports of trees down because of the wind,” he said. “We started the day salting the ice and now we’re cutting and clearing the trees and debris off the road.”
The city of Sidney plows hit the streets at 4 a.m. when three trucks and drivers were dispatched, said Gary Clough, assistant city manager/public works director. Another 23 trucks were on the road by 4:30 a.m. and three more were added at 7:30 a.m.
“We used 55 tons of salt/salt-grit mixture,” said Clough. “We had one minor accident with a snow plow truck.”
Clough said the city is monitoring the weather for the rest of Tuesday and Tuesday tonight.
“Right now it does appear to warrant any response but we will continue to monitor,” said Clough.
The Ohio Department of Transportation District 7 had crews out in Shelby County at midnight Tuesday morning.
“They started with nine crews, then called in two more later, so we had a total of 11 trucks out,” said Mandi Dillon, public information officer. “The warmer temperatures have really helped today, so we are just keeping an eye on things, but at this point roads should be clear.”
The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office responded to more than 25 weather-related incidents ranging from trees down, to crashes and vehicles in a ditch.
The Sidney Wastewater Treatment Plant, which records temperatures and precipitation, reported .05 inches of precipitation through 7 a.m. Tuesday. The high for Monday was 33 degrees with a low of 17 degrees.
The five-day forecast by AccuWeather.com calls for temperatures to rise into the 50s Wednesday and Thursday. The overnight low for Wednesday will be 45 degrees while Thursday night will see temperatures drop into the 20s. there will be rain and drizzle both days.
Temperatures continue to drop on Friday with a high of 34 predicted. Saturday will see a return of ice, then rain and sleet overnight with highs around 38 degrees and lows of 26 degrees. Sunday will be cloudy with highs in the low 40s and a low temperature around 30 degrees.
With the warmer temperatures, Geuy and his employees can take a breath as they wait for the next storm on the horizon.
“I don’t see any problems but there is ice potentially forecast over the weekend,” he said. “We’ll be watching the forecast closely.”
Rain is predicted for the next three or four days.