COLUMBUS, Ohio – The day got off to a white and slow start in central Ohio.
A major storm dropped up to 7 inches of snow on the region overnight, knocking out power, closing schools and making the morning commute a miserable experience.
A Level 2 Snow Emergency — residents should stay home if possible — was in effect in Madison County.
Level 1 Snow Emergencies – meaning drivers should exercise caution – were declared in Franklin, Delaware, Fairfield, Pickaway and Union counties.
Health officials warn residents to be cautious shoveling the unusually wet, heavy snow:
If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s advice about shoveling snow or other hard work in the cold.
If you do shovel snow, take frequent breaks and drink plenty of water.
Wear shoes that provide traction and watch your step on icy and slippery surfaces.
Snow-covered roads are the likely cause of a tractor-trailer crash that shut down a major highway ramp. Columbus police say the semi jacknifed overnight on the I-270 southbound ramp to I-70 east and west.
Dozens of fender-benders were reporrted on roadways across central Ohio.
American Electric Power reportted nearly 2,000 customers were without power in Franklin and Delaware counties for part of the morning.
The National Weather Service says a Winter Storm Warning would be in effect for much of the region until early this afternoon.
The storm, which also dumped record snowfall on Chicago, is on its way east, where it is expected to drop as much as 20 inches of snow in the Central Appalachians of Virginia and Maryland and bring a mix of rain and snow to Washington, DC.