Frigid weather hits Ohio after snow

In the wake of the first winter storm of 2014, the state was facing some of its coldest temperatures in years, with more snow and colder weather expected during the next few days.

Temperatures around the state were in single digits to start the day Friday, with wind chills well below zero. Forecasters said wind chills in Cleveland could dip as low as 20 below zero.

After milder weather Saturday and Sunday, temperatures will dive back down, with highs throughout the state ranging from only zero to 5 for Monday. And it'll stay bitterly cold through most of next week.

Some counties still were cleaning up from the storm that blew through Thursday, leaving behind 4 to 6 inches of snow and more coming.

"The news is going to be this next shot of snow coming Sunday and more so, the cold temperatures coming behind that," said John Franks, a National Weather Service forecaster in Wilmington, in southwest Ohio.

He said meteorologists still were studying storm models Friday morning and planned to issue more information later. Several inches of snow are considered likely for Sunday, though.

After that, temperatures will start cold on Monday and stay cold, likely getting below zero in parts of the state including southwest Ohio.

"It's been 20 years since we've seen those kind of temperatures," Franks said.

The AAA auto club reported a surge in calls for help from motorists. Spokeswoman Kimberly Schwind in Columbus said some 2,000 calls were received Thursday from central Ohio members, mainly for tows or getting pulled out of ditches after their vehicles slid off slick roads. On Friday, calls were flowing in for problems caused by the cold, such as dead batteries, flat tires and people accidentally locked out after they started their cars to warm them up.

Forecasters urged people to take precautions.

"Don't venture out if you don't have to. Be prepared if you get stuck somewhere," Franks said.

The conditions also are dangerous for pets and farm animals, and frozen water pipes are a potential problem.

Schools such as the large southwest Ohio suburban district, Lakota Schools, called off classes Friday because of the bad weather.

Northeastern states were getting the brunt of the winter weather, and that was causing cancellations at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and other airports serving Ohio cities.