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NORDONIA HILLS -- Wacky weather whisked across the area last week starting March 1 with tornado warnings, high winds and rain, but within 72 hours the area was covered in inches of snow.
Tornado sirens, or lack thereof, were a major topic as Summit County was placed under a tornado warning around 5:30 a.m. March 1, yet sirens in Macedonia did not go off.
The Macedonia Police Department responded to concerned residents via a Facebook post stating sirens were designed to be heard by those who were "outdoors only" and that the city only has one siren in the center of town.
"Macedonia has one tornado siren by the old fire station that hasn't been used in years. If activated, it would only be heard by a handful of people," the post stated.
Mayor Joe Migliorini also appeared on a local television news broadcast, stating if residents want sirens, they can be installed but would cost millions of dollars and would require a tax increase. Macedonia residents have voted down recent income tax increases for road work and recreation center funding. A proposed 0.25 perecent increase is on the May 2 ballot.
Along with warm temperatures in the 60s, and an unseasonable thunderstorm, the area saw high winds throughout the day of up to 47 mph and gusts to 61 mph, according to the National Weather Service's Cleveland office. Moderate winds continued into March 2 with gusts peaking at 46 mph and sustained winds hovering around 36 mph.
Then temperatures dropped to under 35 degrees.
A lake-effect storm dumped inches of snow throughout the area, causing dozens of spinouts and traffic crashes on March 3.
In Macedonia, police report there were 17 accidents in the city by 11:30 a.m., not counting nine vehicles that spun off the road and became disabled. At least three accidents were on Route 82, one involving a tractor-trailer and two passenger vehicles, said Police Lt. Vince Yakopovich. He said no injuries were reported.
Yakopovich said heavy snow was falling shortly after 5 a.m., when conditions were so bad it took 20 minutes to complete what normally would be a 5-minute trip. By 9 a.m., he said there were near white-out conditions at times.
In Sagamore Hills, two accidents were reported and several cars spun out into ditches. Again, no injuries were reported, said Sagamore Police Sgt. Dan Rice.
There were no significant incidents in Northfield Village, where the speed limit on Route 8 is 25 mph and traffic slowed to a crawl, said Officer in Charge John Zolgus.
In Twinsburg, police responded to 15 accidents and 14 disabled vehicles by 10:30 a.m. said Assistant Chief Bob Gonsiewski.
"There were no serious accidents or serious injuries," Gonsiewski said. "But there were a lot of fender benders and spinouts. It was a very busy morning."
Nordonia Hills Superintendent Joe Clark said conditions didn't get "nasty" until after buses were already on the road. There were no delays in starting school, but some buses may have been around "15 minutes" late.
Bill Wrist, a representative from D and L Towing in Twinsburg, told the News Leader he's lost count of how many times the company has been called out for service, but estimated he had 40 to 50 as of noon. He said the average wait time for a tow truck was between 20 and 30 minutes.
A representative at Interstate Towing in Macedonia said all of the company's trucks were out on the road Friday afternoon and wait times varied from one to three hours for a tow.
According to Karen Clark from the National Weather Service in Cleveland, about 7.3 inches of snow had fallen in the area, including off-and-on snow from overnight, followed by heavy snow reported between 7 and 10 a.m.
Northfield Center Trustee Paul Buescher said around five inches of snow were on the ground at his home off Highland Road, adding the storm is a remarkable contrast to recent, record-warm weather.
"Just the other weekend we were in short sleeves, then we had thunderstorms and now this," he said.
Reporter April Helms contributed to this story.
Eric Marotta: 330-541-9433