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    Weather Map 8:00 a.m. February 15, 1909


    Ice Storm of February, 1909

         From February 14-16, 1909 a severe ice and sleet storm coated most of central and northern Ohio in a layer of glaze.  Light rain and drizzle began to fall on the 14th while temperatures near the ground were between 5 and 10 degrees below freezing.  This type of precipitation continued falling for almost two days in numerous locations, after which a wet, clinging snow fell.  Erie, Hancock, Sandusky,  and Seneca counties seemed to bear the brunt of the storm.

         Precipitation totals in many locations were rather copious.  Lima (Allen County) got 3.53 inches of liquid precipitation over the three day period, Toledo (Lucas County)  had 3.05 inches and Vickery (Sandusky County)  reported 3.03 inches.  Several other areas received over 2.50 inches.

         Ice on telephone and telegraph wires was an inch in diameter in some places.  A piece of telephone wire four feet long and coated with ice weighed three pounds at Fremont (Sandusky County), while at Tiffin (Seneca County) a foot long piece of telephone wire weighed in at half a pound.  Also at Tiffin, a small twig coated in ice was found to measure five inches in circumference.  Needless to say, damage to trees and wires of all kinds was extensive.  Between Fremont and Norwalk (Huron County), one telephone company had more than 600 poles broken with 300 more broken between Findlay (Hancock County)  and Upper Sandusky (Wyandot County).   As a result of all the downed wires and poles, telephone and telegraph communication with many towns in northwestern Ohio was knocked out for .almost a week

         J. W. Powell, observer at Benton Ridge, Hancock County,  noted that ice on wires was three-fourths inch thick.  Telephone poles and trees were downed there.  At Canton, Stark County,  ice was seen on a clothes line just under half an inch in thickness.  In Paulding County, the observer at Hedges stated that the ground was covered with ice one-third of an inch thick, and an 18 inch diameter elm tree there was broken down by the weight of the ice.

         Up at Sandusky (Erie County)  "great damage" was caused by the ice to trees and wires.  There were no telegraph messages able to get through to or from that point for approximately 41/2 days.  All electricity was also out during that time.  No street cars ran at Tiffin  for a week.  At Toledo (Lucas County) there was a severe sleet storm (sleet also fell in other locations).  Sleet accumulated there 4.3 inches deep on the ground.



    Map showing the approximate southern limit of glaze (dotted line) and area of greatest damage (hatched area) from the March 29-31, 1928 ice storm. Arrows across southern Ohio show the approximate path of the low pressure area which caused the ice storm. 

    Map from Climatological Data, Ohio Section.


    North Main Street in Findlay, Ohio March 30, 1928 after Ice Storm.


    Northwestern Ohio Ice Storm of March, 1928

         A low pressure area spawned over northern New Mexico on March 28, 1928 moved to northern Arkansas by 8:00 a.m. of the 29th, to Louisville, Kentucky 12 hours later and to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by 8:00 a.m. of the 30th where the central pressure dropped to 29.38 inches.  As the low passed over southeastern Ohio, thunderstorms broke out in the warm air sector.  However, when the low was just southeast of Evansville, Indiana in the early afternoon of the 29th, a light drizzle began falling in northwestern Ohio.  By 5:30 p.m., temperatures over much of northwestern Ohio had fallen to or below the freezing point, and the light rain which was falling began to cover all objects with a coat of ice.

         As the hour of midnight approached, the icy coating on exposed objects ranged from one-half to three-fourths inch in thickness.  By 7:00 a.m. of the 30th, the coating of ice was as much as 1.75 inches thick in some areas, and there were numerous, fairly regularly spaced icicles on such things as wires.  At Sandusky (Erie County) one observer noted that there were about 14 two inch long icicles per linear foot.  The observer at Vickery (Sandusky County) counted icicles every 2 to 3 inches on wires and fences - the icicles were about 21/2 inches long.  Strong winds did not help the situation any, either.

         Trees, branches, wires, and poles were brought down in a 15 county area of northwestern Ohio.  Orchards and ornamental trees suffered extensive damage, as well.  Schools in the area were closed on Friday, the 30th.  Some schools were still closed on April 2, but Findlay City Schools (Hancock County) did not reopen until April 10.  Practically every tree on the campus of Findlay College suffered some damage.  Due to the power outage, heaters in poultry hatcheries were off, and numerous eggs and chicks were lost due to the cold.  W. S. Currier, the Toledo (Lucas County) observer, noted that there, the ice 10 to 30 feet above the ground was only about half as thick as it was near the ground, and there was very little tree damage in that area.  Nevertheless, the WSPD Radio tower in Toledo fell under the stress of ice and wind. 

         The Ohio Bell Telephone Company had 8,561 broken poles and had to replace 10,000 miles of telephone wire - all at a cost of about $750,000, while the Western Union Telegraph Company estimated their losses at between $250,000 and $500,000.  The New York Central Railroad Company lost 217 of its poles and had 5,410 breaks in its wires.  These losses together with others from the ice storm put total damages well in excess of $1,500,000.



                            Weather Map 1:30 a.m. January 29, 1947

                        Continental Polar air lay at the surface with milder

                                 Maritime Tropical air overlying it above.


    Ice Storms of January, 1947

         Northwestern Ohio suffered through three ice storms during January of 1947, and each succeeding ice storm was worse than the previous one.  During the night of January 1, 1947, freezing rain began to fall over the northwestern section of the state, and there was some continuing accumulation over the next two days, creating very hazardous driving conditions and causing numerous telephone and electric line breaks due either to just the weight of ice on the wires or to falling trees.  On some electric wires, ice was one and one-half inches thick.  Three hundred linemen worked to restore power but could not keep up with the breaking lines.  Most schools in northwestern Ohio were closed on the 3rd, and power was out in some areas for several days.

         A second ice storm hit northwestern Ohio on the 22nd and 23rd.  In Fulton County, damage to just telephone lines from this storm was put at $12,000.  Then, the third ice storm, the worst of all, struck on January 29 and 30.  Ice from this storm was so heavy that new telephone poles just recently put in place between Wauseon (Fulton County) and Napoleon (Henry County) were broken.  While Toledo?s temperature never rose above 32 degrees all day on the 29th and .74 inch of freezing rain fell there, the thermometer at Chillicothe (Ross County) and Jackson (Jackson County) registered a high of 71 degrees, and Portsmouth (Scioto County) had a high of 73 that day. 

         Put-in-Bay (Ottawa County) was cut off  from the rest of the world for two days due to ice and strong winds downing trees and power lines, resulting in a total shut down of all services to that community.  In Toledo and surrounding areas, schools were closed for two days.  Fallen utility poles and trees blocked railroad tracks, temporarily halting trains.  Damage in Fulton County alone was put at $25,000 from this storm.



                                  Weather Map 1:30 a.m. January 1, 1948

                                       Maritime Tropical air was again overlying 

                                       colder Continental Polar air at the surface. 


    New Year's Day Ice Storm January, 1948

         With the advance of a vigorous low pressure area from Arkansas to Indiana on January 1, 1948, nearly every kind of weather imaginable spread into the Buckeye State.  Ice was the main problem in northwestern Ohio, however, although Toledo (Lucas County) experienced not only freezing rain but also fog, snow, thunder, lightning, and hail.  Total liquid precipitation in many northwestern Ohio communities on the 1st came to near or more than an inch - most of which was in the form of freezing rain.  At Paulding (Paulding County) and north of Tiffin (Seneca County), ice accumulations of more than an inch were common.  Gale-force winds exceeding 50 mph felled numerous trees and power lines.  Severe tree and power line damage was reported in Defiance, Henry, Lucas, Ottawa, Williams, and Wood counties.

         The ice and strong winds snapped 500 electric poles and 300 telephone poles.  Icy runways kept Toledo Municipal Airport closed through January 3.  Just in Toledo alone this ice storm damaged approximately 80,000 trees.  Of course, many people were without electricity for a few days, although most had power again by the 4th.