Locals prepare for freeze

LuLu Yohman said she didn’t want to take any chances.

Like many area residents, the Hubbard Township woman spent some of her time this weekend stocking up on food and supplies to get ready for the snow and freezing temperatures anticipated over the next few days.

Yohman also bought some plastic to cover her basement windows and insulation for the waterpipes at her home.

“I’m also flling up some containers with water in case the power goes out. It can’t hurt,” she said.

Yohman said most of the people she saw at the grocery store were buying food and talking about the weather.

A cold blast of arctic-like temperatures is expected to hit the Mahoning Valley today with many closings of schools and some senior centers.

All SCOPE senior centers in Trumbull County are scheduled to be closed both today and Tuesday.

Ralph Smith, executive director of SCOPE, said he let each center manager decide whether to remain open today.

”The managers know their members and what events they have scheduled for Monday and whether they should be open or not,” Smith said. The directors all decided to close the centers for safety’s sake,

Marge Haley, director of the Lordstown SCOPE Center, said it is closed today and Tuesday because the center is in the Lordstown Elementary School building, which is also closed today.

”We want the seniors to be safe and with temperatures expected to be as cold as they are saying, it is going to be best to be closed. They say people can get frostbite in five to 10 minutes,” Haley said, noting if the Lordstown schools are closed the parking lots will be less likely to be plowed since schools are not in session.

Other senior centers are located in Champion, Cortland, Howland, Niles and Warren.

The National Weather Service in Cleveland is forecasting a brutally cold forecast for the next few days.

There was to be two to four inches of snow possible overnight Sunday.

Today is set to have widespread blowing snow with temperatures to begin falling late afternoon with wind chill values of as low as -14. The day will be breezy with wind gusts as high as 32 miles per hour. Chance of snow is at 60 percent with less than an inch possible.

Tonight will be as low as -11 with wind chill values as low as -33 with wind gusts as high as 31 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50 percent with new snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Tuesday will be very cold with a high of only 2 and wind chill values as low as -37. There will also be widespread blowing snow and cloudy skies. Tuesday evening will be a low around -1.

A slight warming will begin Wednesday with a high near 20 and low 13. Thursday and Friday will see temperatures in the lower 30s Thursday and upper 30s on Friday. Snow is also expected both days with 70 percent Thursday and 60 percent Friday.

By the weekend temperatures for the area will be in the 40s.

Warren City Schools Superintendent Michael Notar cancelled today’s classes for his district by late Sunday afternoon. He said he expected all other Trumbull County schools to be joining Warren by the end of the day. For Warren, classes has not been in session since closing for the holiday break.

“It really is better to be safe than sorry. With the snow and then the cold to follow it there’s really no reason to take the chance with students and staff,” Notar said.

Around the state, administrators are bracing for cold temperatures. Students in Akron, Lorain, Parma, Elyria and other northeast Ohio districts were told classes were cancelled Monday, while in Cleveland the city said it would make available its recreation centers from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday as warming centers providing shelter and showers.

In Columbus, access to the garage under the Ohio Statehouse was being limited through Wednesday in a move described as protecting the historic structure from potential damage from the winds and arctic temperatures that are forecast, some of the coldest in 20 years. An east-side entrance to the garage was to remain open.

In northwest Ohio, the University of Toledo and the Toledo Zoo are among the places that announced closures for Monday. With a Level 3 snow emergency declared in Lucas County, the university cancelled Monday classes but said the institution would otherwise remain open. Nonessential employees were being asked to stay home. The medical center and its outpatient clinics planned to remain open.

Lucas County’s winter storm emergency was declared for all roads beginning at 5:30 p.m. Sunday. That means that only emergency personnel are allowed on the roadways. Because of the ban, the Hollywood Casino Toledo said it would close at 4:30 p.m. Sunday and remain closed until the snow emergency is lifted.