Drifting snow, wind and ice concern for Valley drivers

SALEM, Ohio (WYTV) – As snow continued to fall is many areas of the Valley Wednesday the blowing and drifting snow and frigid temperatures are what caused the most problems.

In Vienna, snow was falling through the day. Mercer and Trumbull counties saw the most snowfall and those flurries came with strong winds. Black ice was a concern as the frigid temperatures made some roads very slippery.

The wind carried snow across highways like Route 11 and vehicles could feel the push. At times, visibility in some areas was very low. Snow whipped across farm fields in Columbiana County where some accidents happened.

According to Travelers insurance, driving in wind may seem like a minor risk but weather condition deserves special consideration from drivers.

Strong wind can occur just about anywhere, but it can be more common in wide open spaces. Areas of concern also include highway overpasses, tunnels and ‘road cuts’ through mountainous areas that can act as funnels for wind. The following tips can help keep you on the road and safe if you encounter heavy winds.

  • Anticipate gusts – Take special care when driving through areas prone to strong winds or when weather reports predict severe weather.
  • Notice larger vehicles – Be aware of large vehicles on the road such as tractor-trailers and recreational vehicles. They are more susceptible to high winds and drivers may have difficulties staying in their lanes.
  • Keep a firm grip on the wheel – Keep both hands on the wheel in case the wind begins to move your vehicle, especially if you are driving a large vehicle or towing a trailer.

“Slow down. Turn on the headlights, and if it gets so bad just stop,” said Lt. Donn Beeson, Salem Police Department. “Wait ten minutes. The worst of it might be by and you are not going to lose that much time.”

Beeson said drifting snow wasn’t a problem in town Wednesday but visibility was an issue.

“Some people were just going too fast or they were trying to run on tires that shouldn’t be on icy roads,” Beeson said.

Snow is expected to fall in many areas of the Valley. The Lake Effect snow showers continue this evening with blowing and drifting snow – wind gusts up to 30 miles per hour at times. It will be a cold night with lows back in the middle teens by morning. The Lake effect snow showers will wrap up toward Thursday morning.