Wood County Emergency Management Agency

County likely to get 4 inches of snow on Saturday with winds gusting to 40 mph

Brad Gilbert, Emergency Management Agency director for Wood County, has issued the following advisory: EMA has just completed a webinar with the NWS Cleveland office.  Although confidence is now high on the overall impact of this weekend’s storm, exact snowfall amounts still have a little question in the forecast.  The forecasted storm track has moved just slightly further south than yesterday.  Details are as follows: SNOW AMOUNTS: In general, Wood County will see an average of 4” of snowfall.  Some uncertainty remains so total accumulations could be 1” to 2” more or even 1” less than the general 4” forecasted.  Southern, especially southeastern Wood County will have the best chance to see a little more than 4” of snowfall. TIMING: Timing has also changed since last night.  Some areas along or north of the Turnpike may see some light snow in the very early morning hours, but most of Wood County will not see snowfall until mid to late morning on Saturday.  Forecast models now indicate that snow should move out of the Wood County area by midnight Saturday night. WINDS: Winds will start to increase Saturday morning and become strongest in the late afternoon and evening of Saturday into the overnight hours and Sunday morning.  Winds will be from the northeast most of the time at 15-25 mph.  There will be wind gusts 30-40 mph at times especially Saturday evening and into the overnight hours.  Winds will start to subside late Sunday afternoon and into the evening, but will still be breezy. IMPACTS: Traveling difficulty will increase throughout the afternoon on Saturday.  The evening hours are likely to have the most difficult travel conditions due to increasing winds.  Travel will also remain difficult on Sunday as snow continues to be blown around by gusty winds.  Winds may also cause sporadic power outages, so be prepared to deal with these issues should they occur.  Dangerous cold air will move into the area for Sunday into Monday with Monday morning wind chills around -20 degrees F.  Please check on family, friends, neighbors, and pets with this dangerous cold settling into the area. A Winter Storm WATCH is in effect for Saturday.  A Winter Storm WARNING has been issued just to our south and southeast as they will be receiving more snow than Wood County.  The NWS will evaluate the forecast again late tonight to decide if Wood and Lucas Counties are to go under a Winter Storm WARNING or a Winter Weather ADVISORY.  A warning is an indicator of at least 6” of snowfall, so if a warning is issued, expected snow totals will be up from the current 4” predicted. From EMA, have a SAFE weekend and don’t venture out unless you absolutely have to.  Let the plow drivers do their job to get our roads clear.  If you have to venture out, remember ICE…

Storm expected to arrive late Friday and drop up to eight inches

Brad Gilbert, Emergency Management Agency director for Wood County, has issued the following advisory: The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm WATCH for Wood County effective 4 a.m. Saturday morning through midnight.  Based upon the forecasted snow totals for this storm, it is likely that this watch will be upgraded to a warning (for Saturday) sometime late on Friday.  A new development in the forecast models today show that an upper level low pressure will develop just north of the developing low pressure (storm system) at the surface which will expand the coverage of snow (on the northeast side of the surface storm system) and bring snow into the area earlier than expected. Light snow could begin as early as very late Friday night.  Snow would be fairly light in the overnight hours but will increase in intensity through the morning hours of Saturday.  The heaviest snowfall rates will be in the afternoon and early evening hours of Saturday.  Storm total accumulations still appear to be in the 4”-8” range with the higher range  (6”-8”) being more likely to the southern part of the county.  Winds will steadily increase throughout Saturday with gusts Saturday evening and Sunday morning in the 35 mph range with an occasional 40 mph possible at times.  Blowing and drifting snow will remain an issue most of Sunday.  Dangerous cold air will also settle into the area on Sunday and overnight into Monday with low temperatures around -8 to -10 degrees and dangerous wind chills.  The last update for this storm will be emailed out Friday afternoon and we should have solid forecast information at that time.  We will also detail the forecasted winds in tomorrow’s email.

Winter storm watch updated

Brad Gilbert, Emergency Management Agency director for Wood County, has issued the following advisory: The storm system moving through the area on Thursday is now trending down towards 1”-2”.  In some areas especially in Northern Wood County, areas may see less than 1” of snow on Thursday. Forecast models today are now trending towards moving the storm track (and heaviest snow band) for Saturday slightly south.  Again, the forecast models will not start providing high confidence storm track data until Thursday, so there is still a chance of a different storm track.  With the slight move southward in the storm track trend today, Wood County is in the 4”-6” snowfall range with the lower amount to the north and higher amount to the south.  Please keep in mind that strong winds will be a big component of the weekend storm that will cause traveling difficulties both Saturday and Sunday.  We should start having high confidence storm track data by early Thursday afternoon for this storm system. Polar air moves into the area on Sunday and into Monday.  Overnight lows on Sunday into Monday will be 8 to 10 degrees below zero with highs in the mid teens both days. We are now tracking another storm system that could have accumulating snow Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. 

More snow headed our way

Brad Gilbert, Emergency Management Agency director for Wood County, has issued the following advisory: WINTER HAS ARRIVED!  A series of storm systems will be moving through the lower Great Lakes from tonight through Sunday will bring winter weather headaches to NW Ohio. TONIGHT/WEDNESDAY MORNING: A smaller atmospheric disturbance will be moving through the area tonight and into Wednesday morning.  Snow flurries/snow showers are likely; however, there will be some areas that will experience some freezing drizzle as well due to some warmer air trying to move into the mid atmosphere.  Some surfaces could be slippery overnight and for the Wednesday morning commute. THURSDAY/THURSDAY NIGHT: A storm system with a little more energy will move through the area and bring 2” to 3” of new snow to the area.  Snow will likely start Thursday morning and continue into Thursday evening before tapering off in the overnight hours to Friday morning. SATURDAY/SUNDAY: As most people have heard by now, a much stronger storm system is set to take aim at the lower Great Lakes and Ohio Valley on Saturday.  Forecast models are still not in total agreement on the exact storm track, so we will have to wait until Thursday likely before an exact storm track can be determined.  For planning purposes at this time, confidence is high for the Wood County area to be in the 3” to 6” snowfall range.  Again, final storm track determination may cause this estimated total to go up or down from 3” to 6”.  An equal concern will be winds with this storm system.  Winds will increase throughout the day on Saturday with gusts reach 20, 25, or even 30 mph at times by evening and into the overnight hours.  The overnight hours and early morning hours of Sunday could even see wind gusts at times to near 40 mph.  Even though snowfall will diminish in the overnight hours (Saturday to Sunday), please plan on Sunday being difficult travel with blowing/drifting snow with whiteout conditions possible at times…especially in the morning hours and outside of city areas.  We may get some sunshine by late afternoon on Sunday, but the winds and bitterly cold polar air will not help with travel conditions.  The coldest air of the season will settle into the area for late Sunday into Monday with overnight lows just below zero.  Travel will become difficult at times on Saturday and may continue into Sunday with the winds, so please use extra caution when planning any travel for the weekend.

Master of disasters in Wood County ready to retire

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Brad Gilbert will never forget the day. “June 5, 2010, at 11:16 in the evening,” he said. “It was the big one.” Gilbert has been responding to emergencies in Wood County now for more than 12 years. But that one – the Lake Township tornado – was the worst. “For EMA directors, we know it’s a matter of when, not if,” he said. “We only see those types of tornadoes every 50 to 60 years.” And it just happened to be on his shift. Gilbert announced this past week that he is retiring from this job as Wood County Emergency Management Agency director at the end of March. He has already outlived the terms of many EMA directors in the state, who average 7.5 years in the job. “The job itself I continue to love. It’s the 24/7, it’s the phone calls at all hours,” Gilbert said. When storms roll in, Gilbert has to be ready to roll out. The Lake Township tornado was the worst incident during his time as EMA director. Seven people were killed, more than 30 injured, and many homes and businesses were destroyed. “It’s an emotional thing. No one wants people to die on your watch,” he said. As EMA director, Gilbert has dealt with many crises. There was the train derailment that spilled diesel fuel. “Those are always challenging.” There were two pipeline leaks – one spilling oil into Rocky Ford Creek near Cygnet, and the other leaking propane in Middleton Township prompting an evacuation. There’s been plenty of flooding, especially in the Grand Rapids and Pemberville areas along rivers. “We’ve made a lot of gains on information documenting, so we know what to expect at certain water levels,” Gilbert said. “Flooding is tough because it really impacts people for a long time period,” he said. And then there have been countless incidents of straightline winds and small tornadoes wreaking havoc. Gilbert is responsible for assessing damage from storms to see if the area qualifies for outside government assistance. Gilbert is accustomed to coming into people’s lives at low points. “Usually they are experiencing some of the worst things of their lives,” he said. Yet, he loves the job – the interaction with first responders, elected officials and the public. “We are trying to build collaboration and cooperation across the county,” before an emergency occurs, he said. “That’s the highlight of this job.” Gilbert has focused much of his time on training others to help themselves – whether that’s local fire departments responding to hazardous material calls or the public preparing for bad weather. If storms hit and the electricity goes out, Gilbert wants people to be stocked up in their homes. “Our goal is to always keep them in their homes whenever possible,” he said. “We want to help people…

Code Red alert system going countywide next year

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Starting next year, all Wood Countians will be able to get “Code Red” alerts on their phones. The alerts will notify local residents of such events as bad weather headed this way or a hazardous material incident in their area, according to Wood County Emergency Management Agency Director Brad Gilbert. Wood County is one of just a few Ohio counties that don’t have a countywide notification system, Gilbert said. The county commissioners approved Gilbert’s request earlier this week for $23,000 for the system. The total cost for the system is $46,000 – but other entities already paying for the system individually are expected to join in the countywide alert program. All landlines in the county will automatically be hooked up for the Code Red alerts. Cell phone users will have to register for the notifications. People will also be able to choose different options of which alerts they wish to receive. The seven governmental entities that are already using Code Red are Northwestern Water and Sewer District, Perrysburg city, Perrysburg Township, Rossford, Lake Township, Walbridge and Pemberville. Those entities already have separate contracts with Onsolve Communication, the company providing Code Red alerts. So by teaming up with the county, it will not only augment the service but also reduce their costs, Gilbert said. The program will also be opened up to any other municipality or township that wants to join to post their own alerts. “It’s a win-win situation,” Gilbert said. Those communities that become “sub-users” of the Code Red system can activate alerts on their own for residents in their area. The system can be used for non-emergency, yet helpful information such as notification of leaf collections or road closures. The system also has the benefit of allowing “geocoding,” so the alerts can be sent out to very specific areas. In the case of weather or hazardous material incidents, the alerts can go out to targeted areas to warn them and also to disperse recovery information after an incident, Gilbert said. If evacuations are needed, the Code Red system would be of great help, he said. “It really speeds up the process,” he said. Gilbert is hopeful that the countywide Code Red will be operating by March 1.

Weather advisory cancelled

Brad Gilbert, Emergency Management Agency director for Wood County, has issued the following advisory: The Winter Weather Advisory has been cancelled for Wood County.  Temperatures have warmed into the mid 30’s and the heavier precipitation has moved to our east.  Light snow will continue on and off through the mid-evening hours.  Please keep in mind that temperatures will drop after sunset causing some surfaces to become slippery again.  Likewise, the overnight low will be in the upper 20’s, so anticipate some slippery surfaces on the morning commute…especially on bridges and on rural less traveled roads.  Ice and Snow….take it slow! Again, a slight warming trend back towards more normal temperatures is expected for Thanksgiving week.  No major storms are on the horizon at this point.

Wintry mix forecast for Thursday (updated)

Brad Gilbert, Emergency Management Agency director for Wood County, has issued the following advisory: 2:45 p.m. Wednesday Updated forecast models indicate an influx of a little more cooler air at the surface and mid -levels of the atmosphere than originally anticipated on Thursday.  As a result, the NWS has issued a Winter Weather Advisory from 5:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Thursday.  Although total snow accumulations will be less than 1”, surfaces may become icy at times during the day especially on untreated surfaces.  Please use extra caution when traveling or walking outside on Thursday as the potential for slippery conditions on and off throughout the day will be possible.  Ice and Snow….take it slow! …. From earlier Wednesday A storm system moving from the south into the northeast on Thursday will bring a mixture of rain, sleet, and snow throughout the day and into the evening hours.  Precipitation will begin in the morning around or just after sunrise and continue through the day into the evening hours.  Accumulation of snow will be minimal, ½” or less, however surfaces may become slippery in the evening hours as temperatures drop, so use extra caution if traveling. Long range forecast models do indicate a slight warming (back towards normal temps) next week and into the last week of November.

Storm headed this way tonight & into Tuesday

Brad Gilbert, Emergency Management Agency director for Wood County, has issued the following advisory: A strong storm system moving into the lower Great Lakes late tonight and Tuesday will bring windy conditions overnight and into the day on Tuesday.  The latest forecast models indicate a little better news than what we expected a few days ago.  Although a thunderstorm cannot be ruled out especially overnight tonight, the widespread severe weather threat will stay well south and southeast of NW Ohio.  Rain (with some isolated thunderstorms) will move into the area late tonight and it could be heavy at times overnight, but there are indications that the steady rain will move east of the area by the mid-morning hours with just widely scattered showers possible into the mid-afternoon.  Winds will increase and be sustained at 20-30 mph with gusts as high as 40 mph.  Winds should subside slowly (but still breezy) towards Tuesday evening and Tuesday night. Get ready for some winter-like temperatures this upcoming weekend.  Time to bring in the garden hoses and those type of things that are susceptible to freezing!    

Hold tight to those signs, high winds predicted for Election Day

Brad Gilbert, Emergency Management Agency director for Wood County, has issued the following advisory: A very strong storm system will move across the Great Lakes this Tuesday and Tuesday night.  The storm system alone will bring prolonged times of very gusty winds ahead of and behind a cold front.  In addition, ingredients may be possible for strong to even severe thunderstorms to develop ahead of this strong cold front as it will warm (into the 60s) on Tuesday.  Although it is early for details yet, I just wanted  you to be aware of the potential for wind and possibly strong storm issues on Tuesday.  We will be monitoring the situation and we will provide an update on Monday. *** Remember to move your clocks back one hour early Sunday morning (or late Saturday night) for the end of Daylight Savings Time!

Cold front will cause thunderstorms later today

Brad Gilbert, Emergency Management Agency director for Wood County, has issued the following advisory: After record setting warmth in NW Ohio yesterday, we will experience ONE more very warm day before a very strong cold front moves into the area late tonight (Oct. 10).  Scattered showers and some thunderstorms will be possible this afternoon with thunderstorms becoming likely this evening as the cold front approaches the area.  Some of the storms could be strong to even severe.  The SPC has placed Wood County in the “Marginal” risk category for severe weather this evening.  Damaging straight-line winds will be the primary threat.  Please monitor weather conditions late this afternoon and evening.

Plan to be outdoors this weekend? Check the weather

Brad Gilbert, Emergency Management Agency director for Wood County, has issued the following advisory: An unsettled and warming weather pattern will continue across the area from this weekend into at least the first half of next week.  A quick shot of cooler air on Friday will transition via rain showers (low chance of lightning) Friday evening to warming conditions for the weekend.  Warmer air will cause instability which will trigger showers and thunderstorms on and off throughout the weekend.  Additional atmospheric conditions late Saturday afternoon into Saturday evening will allow some thunderstorms to become strong to even severe at times across the lower Great Lakes.  The SPC has extreme NW Ohio in the “Marginal” risk category for severe weather later on Saturday.  Please plan on monitoring weather conditions this weekend especially if you have outdoor plans.

Nationwide test of Wireless Emergency Alerts today

Brad Gilbert, Emergency Management Agency director for Wood County, has issued the following advisory: Be advised that FEMA and the FCC will be conducting a first-ever nationwide test of the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) and the Emergency Alert System (EAS) today at 2:18 p.m (for WEA) and 2:20 p.m. (for EAS).  Cell phones with WEA capability (including provider capability) and radio/television that are part of the EAS system will send a TEST alert at the designated times.  No action is required for these tests.

Thunderstorms forecast for later today

Brad Gilbert, Emergency Management Agency director for Wood County, has issued the following advisory: A break will develop late this morning and early afternoon from existing showers and thunderstorms.  Thunderstorms will redevelop later this afternoon and especially this evening.  Dynamics in the atmosphere today over NW Ohio will support the development of stronger to some severe thunderstsorms.  It has been awhile since we have been in the direct target of strong/severe storm potential development.  The SPC has NW Ohio in the “Slight” risk for severe weather today.  Primary threats are damaging straight-line winds, large hail, and a chance of an isolated tornado as wind sheer will allow for some rotation in the atmosphere.  Stronger storm potential will be this evening to possibly into the very early hours of Wednesday.   Please monitor weather conditions and local media/weather radios for the latest weather information and possible watches and/or warnings this evening.

Slight risk overnight Tuesday for severe weather

Brad Gilbert, Emergency Management Agency director for Wood County, has issued the following advisory: A storm system moving through the Great Lakes on Tuesday and early Wednesday will bring showers and thunderstorms.  Some of the thunderstorms could be strong to severe with damaging straight-line winds, hail, and an isolated tornado.  The Storm Prediction Center has NW Ohio in the “Slight” risk category for severe weather on Tuesday going into very early Wednesday morning.  We have seen numerous times this severe weather season how thunderstorms develop and intensify either to our west or our east; however on Tuesday, NW Ohio will be in the center of the “Slight” risk category giving us a better chance of seeing strong or severe thunderstorms.  A secondary threat from this storm system could be very heavy rainfall that could cause localized flooding issues.  Although showers and thunderstorms will be possible at any time in the afternoon and evening, forecast models indicate stronger energy in the atmosphere in the evening hours on Tuesday which could lead to stronger or even severe thunderstorms.   Please monitor weather conditions Tuesday afternoon and evening.  EMA will try to provide an update email Tuesday morning.