Is this the strangest winter you’ve ever seen?
Maybe I’m showing some recency bias, but in my 59 years, I cannot remember a winter with more ups and downs, high and lows and extreme conditions.
Last weekend’s 36-hour wind storm is just the latest example of Mother Nature’s fickle disposition. We’ve seen temperature drops of more than 30 or 40 degrees in the span of 48 hours twice this season. We experience some of the coldest conditions we’ve seen in decades, only to be followed just a few days later with warmer than usual temperatures.
I’ve kept a bottle of Dramamine handy since January, as I don’t typically fare well on short rollercoaster rides. And this ride has been going on for more than two months.
From early Sunday through midday Monday, north central Ohio experienced steady winds of 20-40 mph with gusts to more than 60 mph.
And the results were predictable. Downed trees, downed utility poles. closed roads and businesses and residences without electric.
On top of that we had temperatures in the 50s Sunday morning and in the 20’s Monday morning, with wind chills in the single digits, if not lower.
Electric has been restored to all in Galion who were without.
But the storm didn’t make that repair work easy.
“A tree fell on a line on Snyder, causing a widespread outage on the east side of town,” explained Nicole Ward, Galion’s City Service director. “Crews were able to reroute power to get most of those customers back on.”
But it took a little longer than expected. On Monday morning, City of Galion workers were still “in the process of setting poles and completely rerouting that line. As a result, the two residences on Snyder remain without power.”
But those people are now back on the grid.
“There was also an outage caused by a blown fuse at Moccasin Run apartments overnight, and they were back on early Monday morning,” Ward said.
The sound of chain saws were common Monday as homeowners, contractors and others cleared debris from their lots and homes.
Mike and Julie Roelle, who live on West Payne Street near Heise Park, had a huge tree come down on their property.
T tree didn’t hit the house. It fell just a little shy of their bedroom window, but with all the howling of the wind, the Roelles said they never heard the tree come down, Where it fell, it crossed their driveway where their cars were parked for the night, but there were no scratches at all.
“We were very lucky,” Julie Roelle said. “It could’ve been so much worse. I kind of feel like I should play the lottery after this!”
Mike Clouse submitted some photos from just a couple of blocks away on Walker Street, and there were trees down in the Carmel Avenue area.
There were trees down elsewhere, but these are the ones I saw during a brief drive-thru Monday morning.
Now, what to do with that tree debris?
“The city will not be doing pickup of debris,” Ward said. “The Taylor Road landfill will be open March 15-16 for debris, but but cannot accept trees or logs.”
Damage was relatively minor throughout this area, but Galion’s new ice-skating rink in Heise Park did not survive Mother Nature’s wrath. It is closed until further notice.
“The rink is fixable, but I don’t know if it will be fixable this season, as it will have to thaw completely first,” Ward said. “As of right now, there is still 2-3” of ice on the liner, which is preventing it from being pulled back into place and getting the walls fit back together. Once repaired, it would have to be re-filled and those 12-15,000 gallons would have to refreeze.
“Being open again this season is obviously dependent on how temperatures go over the next few days and couple of weeks.”
So, readers, aside from the Blizzard of ‘78, is this the wackiest, most extreme weather you’ve experience?
If not, what is the weirdest winter you lived through?
As for north central Ohio, the long-range forecast is calling for rather benign conditions through the end of next week. Highs will range from the 20s to the 40s and no major precipitation event or wind event is in the forecast.
But we’ll have to wait and see.
After all, this is Ohio.
Russ Kent is editor of the Galion Inquirer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org