Storm closes Ohio schools, makes roads hazardous

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Wintry weather that blasted into Ohio overnight closed hundreds of schools through the central and southwestern parts of the state Friday and made some nasty driving conditions.

The messy mix of freezing rain and sleet that fell early Friday was part of a sweeping weather system bringing snow and ice to the country's midsection. In Ohio, the mess was expected to turn into snow during the day on Friday, with 4 to 8 inches expected in some areas.

Central and southwestern counties were under a winter storm warning until 1 a.m. Saturday. A winter storm advisory was declared for counties farther to the north and west.

Canceled flights were reported Friday at airports in Dayton, Columbus and Cincinnati.

Crews treated roads before Friday's commute. The Ohio AAA auto club expected thousands of calls for help from stranded drivers. The city of Cincinnati said it expected to keep 65 to 70 trucks on the road with crews working 12-hour shifts.

Some areas of the state that began Thursday with highs in the 60s are expected to see temperatures plunge into teens for the weekend.

Winter storm and ice warnings were also in effect Friday for parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.

The system has already brought frigid temperatures and dumped 1 to 2 feet of snow in parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin.