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Two drivers killed in crashes on snowy roads; Thursday’s storm could be preview of Arctic blast Sunday

Beacon Journal staff report

It was a deadly day for motorists as steady snow made for treacherous conditions Thursday.

Two weather-related crashes — one in Wayne County and another in Stark County — claimed two lives.

Weather forecasters warn that more dangerous winter conditions are just a few days away. They say an anticipated blast of snow Sunday and Arctic-like temperatures to start the week may have many longing for Thursday’s 20-degree mercury readings.

The National Weather Service said temperatures could climb to 32 degrees Sunday, but don’t let that fool you.

Jim Kosarik, a meteorologist with the weather service, said it will be all downhill from there as a blast of Arctic air and snow moves in later in the day.

Weather-prediction models show temperatures Monday night could drop to 5 to 10 degrees below zero with sustained winds of 25 to 30 mph. The cold temperatures and wind will combine for double-digit wind chills.

Some areas might even see temperatures drop a little lower, Kosarik said.

Thursday temperatures were cold enough to complicate the work to keep streets clear as more than 6 inches of snow fell in some areas.

After urging motorists to stay off the roads Thursday, Medina County officials announced that they were no longer applying salt on county roads until temperatures rebounded.

The county used cinders to help motorists gain traction.

Police departments were busy throughout the day answering countless calls for accidents after motorists slid off the roads or into each other.

Wayne County authorities are investigating a fatal accident involving a county snowplow in Apple Creek.

The Ohio Highway Patrol reports that a motorist heading east at 5:09 p.m. Thursday on U.S. 250 in a Toyota Matrix lost control and slid sideways into a county plow heading in the opposite direction.

Authorities said the snowplow cut through the car and struck and killed Mary K. Durbin Aken, 60, of New Philadelphia.

The plow’s driver, Keith Badertscher, 60, of Nashville, was taken to Wooster Community Hospital with minor injuries.

In Stark County, an Alliance woman was killed when she lost control of her Oldsmobile Intrigue on state Route 173 and hit a guardrail and then drove into the path of tractor-trailer traveling in the opposite direction.

Caroline L. Kunz, 75, died in the noon crash in Washington Township.

The driver of the truck, Gary W. Ramsey, 53, of Louisville, was taken to Alliance Community Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

The snow prompted some schools to extend the holiday break another day. Others, like the University of Akron and the Akron Art Museum, opted to close early Thursday.

A chilly day is in the forecast today with a high in the low 20s and snow flurries.

Sunny skies with a high in the low 30s are predicted for Saturday before the snow and cold return Sunday night.


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