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Storm closes Cleveland schools; New York gets lake-effect snow

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  • VIDEO COURTESY AP

  • DAVID PETKIEWICZ/CLEVELAND.COM VIA AP
                                A car drives through the snow today on E. Orange St. in Chagrin Fall, Ohio. A winter storm shut down schools in Cleveland and other areas Tuesday and the blanket of snow made driving on heavily traveled Interstate 90 in northern Ohio treacherous.

    DAVID PETKIEWICZ/CLEVELAND.COM VIA AP

    A car drives through the snow today on E. Orange St. in Chagrin Fall, Ohio. A winter storm shut down schools in Cleveland and other areas Tuesday and the blanket of snow made driving on heavily traveled Interstate 90 in northern Ohio treacherous.

  • DAVID PETKIEWICZ/CLEVELAND.COM VIA AP
                                A man clears his driveway in Beachwood, Ohio, after heavy lake-effect snowfall arrived overnight. A winter storm shut down schools in Cleveland and other areas Tuesday and the blanket of snow made driving on heavily traveled Interstate 90 in northern Ohio treacherous.

    DAVID PETKIEWICZ/CLEVELAND.COM VIA AP

    A man clears his driveway in Beachwood, Ohio, after heavy lake-effect snowfall arrived overnight. A winter storm shut down schools in Cleveland and other areas Tuesday and the blanket of snow made driving on heavily traveled Interstate 90 in northern Ohio treacherous.

CLEVELAND >> An early blast of cold and snow shut down shut down schools in Cleveland and other areas Tuesday and the blanket of snow made driving on heavily traveled Interstate 90 in northern Ohio treacherous.

A lake-effect snow warning was issued by the National Weather Service for areas from Cleveland eastward into Erie, Pennsylvania, and parts of western New York were bracing for the first significant snowfall of the year.

Near-whiteout conditions and heavy snow were blamed for a 10-vehicle crash that seriously injured a 12-year-old boy in Wales, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southeast of Buffalo, during the Monday afternoon commute, Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said Tuesday. The child was struck after getting out of his family’s vehicle.

“People began to exit their vehicles and leave the roadway due to the amount of oncoming traffic continually striking the vehicles already involved in the accident,” Garcia said in a statement.

Forecasters said they expected up to 16 inches (40 centimeters) of snow in the greater Cleveland area. Just before 11 a.m. Tuesday, the weather service said observers had reported 13 inches (33 centimeters) or more in Ashtabula County in Ohio and Erie County in Pennsylvania along with 11.6 inches (30 centimeters) in Lake County, Ohio.

In Erie, forecasters said snow accumulation in some areas could amount to 8 inches (20 centimeters), blown by with winds up to 30 miles per hour (48 kmh) before the snow warning is set to expire Wednesday morning.

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District, which serves more than 36,000 students, said all of its schools would be closed Tuesday, and districts in some neighboring counties also closed. In Pennsylvania, the Northeastern School District in Albion closed schools Tuesday while other Erie and Crawford county districts delayed opening for two hours.

The Ohio Department of Transportation said it had nearly 340 crews working across the state, most of them in northeast Ohio, and in Lake County speed limits on I-90 were reduced for a time during the snowfall. Department spokesperson Matt Bruning said clean-up crews will likely work 12 hour shifts even after the National Weather Service’s lake effect snow warning is dropped to deal with any issues caused by snow drifts resulting from high winds.

A foot or more of snow also had fallen across a largely rural stretch of upstate New York east of Lake Ontario, with one spot recording 23 inches by Tuesday morning, according to the weather service. There were school closings and travel advisories around the Tug Hill region, which is known for prolific lake-effect snowstorms.

Areas south of Buffalo, down to the Pennsylvania border, meanwhile, were digging out from a foot or more of snow that fell from Monday evening into Tuesday. Law enforcement reported several cars off the roads during a slippery morning commute and several school districts canceled classes. An additional 5 to 10 inches of snow were expected though early Wednesday in some Buffalo suburbs and neighboring counties.

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