Snow arrived in Fulton County a little early this year, but the adverse effects were relatively minor.
About 3,500 of the county’s 18,000 Toledo Edison customers lost power Monday afternoon due to galloping conductors, according to spokesperson Chris Eck. He said slight ice and increased winds caused the utility wires to bounce “like a jump rope” and bump into one another, resulting in the power outage. Eck said the weather conditions may also have damaged insulators and cross arm poles attached to the wires.
Power for nearly all of Edison’s affected customers was restored by 4:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Eck said the cause of the outage was unusual for Fulton County, which typically suffers disruptions due to downed wires or snow- and ice-laden tree branches that droop onto the wires.
A total of 724 of Midwest Energy and Communications’ nearly 1,100 county customers experienced an outage Monday afternoon for, at most, one hour and 45 minutes, spokesperson Amy Pales said. The disruption was the result of high winds temporarily knocking out the systems’s metering points.
The Fulton County Highway Department ran 10 plows Monday over 364 lane miles between 4:30-10:30 p.m. Despite difficulty with wind, the crews spread 50 tons of a salt and stone mix on county roads on Monday, and additional amounts Tuesday morning.
“It was pretty routine. We’ve been cleaning up ever since,” said B.J. Abbott, department superintendent.
Crews from the Ohio Department of Transportation plows found drifting snow a slight hassle; otherwise, their work also was routine, spokesperson Rebecca Dangelo said. Twelve trucks hit county roads at 4 a.m. Monday, and were expected to finish clearing snow by Tuesday night. Rock salt and liquid de-icers were applied to roadways.
Dangelo said a couple of trucks were scheduled to stay on duty overnight Tuesday to prevent refreezing.
“Most of the worst was drifting. Now, they hope they can get those roads dry,” she said.
Area districts canceled school, most after initially issuing delays.
Wauseon Police Chief Kevin Chittenden reported three traffic accidents in the city likely related to snowy conditions, two caused by collisions between a vehicle and a snowplow. He said, however, that traffic conditions remained good, adding, “Things were going pretty well.”
In Swanton, no vehicle accidents occurred and streets were salted beginning at 3:30 p.m., a police spokesperson said. “We did not have any issues. We had a very quiet evening,” she said.
Fifteen snow-related accidents occurred in the county Monday, and sheriff’s deputies aided other motorists whose vehicles slid off the road. Fulton County Sheriff Roy Miller said there were also issues with power lines, but said the weather caused no other major problems.
The National Weather Service of Northern Indiana, which covers Fulton County, reported an average snowfall of four inches, with accumulation varying throughout the county. Meteorologist Pat Murphy said the snow was caused by a winter storm system that developed in the Mississippi Valley, then tracked through the Ohio Valley.
“It was early for a first snow, but it’s turning into that time,” Murphy said.
Fulton County can expect a gradual rise in daytime temperatures to the 30s through this week, then highs in the 40s next week.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.