If Saturday was about snow falling, Sunday is about all of it blowing around in frigid wind.

A winter snowstorm that has blanketed Akron and Northeast Ohio since early Saturday morning is expected to continue until 4 a.m. Monday, lifting just in time for many to head back to work.

But first, Greater Akron will have to endure falling temperatures that, when combined with winds gusting up to 40 mph, will make it feel like it's between zero and minus 20 degrees.

The combo of Saturday’s snow with Sunday’s winds could make it hard to see when driving, the weather service warned, adding that lake effect snow could add to the problem later Sunday. Akron was expected to get 7 to 12 inches of snow before the storm moved out Sunday.

About 5:30 p.m., the National Weather Service in Cleveland told its 16,000 Twitter followers: "Simply put, you do not want to be driving on the roads this evening unless you absolutely need to. Driving conditions are bad and are going to continue to get worse this evening and tonight."

None of this is unfamiliar to Northeast Ohioans, who Saturday played and planned accordingly, though there were numerous fender benders and crashes along the way.

About 10:30 a.m., the Wayne County sheriff issued a Level 1 emergency, saying the roads there were already icy. Other counties followed as the storm moved east.

At the Akron Zoo, in between sweeping up the snow, some employees tried to make some fun for visitors and animals.

Wild animal keeper Vicki Croisant packed fresh-fallen snow into two large molds and popped out perfect snow penguins that looked like sparkling white, three-dimensional cartoon birds in tuxedos.

In a tweet, she said she placed a snow penguin at either end of the zoo’s Humboldt penguin exhibit.

“The real penguins are skeptical of the exhibit visitors,” noting that only one — Rico — dared to approach the snow penguins, and even he stayed 2 or 3 feet away.

Meanwhile, in downtown Akron, organizers of the Akron Women’s March held firm, saying they would rally regardless of the weather. At 11 a.m, more than 200 people gathered in falling snow at Main and Market streets to hear a series of speakers talk about everything from domestic violence and reproductive rights to immigrants and gun control.

Several in the crowd held handmade signs saying it was time for President Donald Trump to leave office. And as the group left its rally in front of the federal building to walk east to the Sojourner Truth Building on North High Street, they chanted: “We want a leader, not a creepy tweeter.”

Many of the marchers ended up at Summit Artspace for an after-march party, but a few broke away and headed to the Lockview on Main Street.

“It’s been pretty slow today,” Lockview bartender Amanda Slagle said.

The downtown nightlife stalwart was hoping to lure people in later Saturday through a social media post.

“As we’re fantasizing about our rooftop patio being open, rumor has it old man winter is upon us,” the Lockview tweeted. For anyone brave enough to venture out, it offered a “Saturday snow plow special” — of $10 off all wine bottles — and a “winter sucks beer special” for $2.

Acme Fresh Market tried to lure storm-wary customers through social media, too, reminding them on Facebook that it was selling 10 cans of Campbell’s soup for $10, an “easy dinner on a cold winter night.”

But it wasn’t just soup that people were after as they prepared to hunker down at home.

Russ Brown, store director of Mustard Seed in Montrose, said grocery sales were up all week as people followed news reports of the coming storm.

“Before we opened this morning, I noticed that all the baked goods were sold out, all the bread was gone,” Brown said.

Meat sales increased, too.

Business at the market was brisk Saturday until about 2 p.m., he said, and then seemed to drop off as the weather worsened. The cafe closed at 6 p.m. Saturday and the market followed at 8.

It was the same at Artisan Coffee in Ellet, said barista Ellis Fincham. By afternoon, most people coming in from the snow seemed to be craving not only coffee but comfort.

“Everyone I’ve noticed is getting something to eat,” she said.

To the north at the Cuyahoga Falls Natatorium, fewer people were burning off whatever calories they did consume. Like most workout facilities, the Natatorium’s busiest month is January as people launch healthy New Year’s resolutions.

“But it’s certainly not a normal Saturday in January,” manager Abby Stratton said.

It was unclear Saturday afternoon if they would remain open until evening, but by about 4 p.m., other Greater Akron businesses and organizations had decided the storm had won.

Ronald Shea announced on Twitter that R. Shea Brewing in the Merriman Valley would close at 8 p.m. “due to the weather and the fact that we are surrounded by four rather large hills.”

The Nightlight Cinema canceled showings of its 7 and 9 p.m. films.

And the Akron-Summit County Public Library closed all branches at 4 p.m., moments after learning that its Martin Luther King Jr. weekend guest — who was scheduled to speak Sunday — couldn’t make it.

Carl Westmoreland, senior historian at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, was stuck in Cincinnati after his flight to Cleveland was canceled during the storm.

Library officials still hoped, however, to show the film “Selma” as scheduled at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Main Library downtown.

But, officials said, they still might cancel: It all depends on the weather.

 

Amanda Garrett can be reached at 330-996-3725 or agarrett@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @agarrettABJ.