Dayton Daily News
Rapid weather changes cause major headaches
Potholes wreak havoc on roads; tornados bring damage, too.
Fluctuating weather conditions in the past week are causing problems for area vehicle and home owners.
Nine days ago, frigid cold temperatures with wind chills as low as 30 below zero plagued the Miami Valley. By Monday, those temperatures rose nearly 70 degrees with temperatures reaching 60 degrees with record rainfall. And then temperatures dropped back down below freezing on Thursday.
Those drastic and rapid changes are causing major issues for road conditions and severe weather, including a tornado that caused tree and property damage in southern Clark County.
A weak tornado Thursday downed power lines, snapped trees and left home siding and gutters scattered near Pitchin in southern Clark County. Tornadoes typically form when warm and humid conditions meet cooler air, along with rapid changes in wind direction.
The National Weather Service confirmed Friday that the storm was a tornado. The heavy wind and rain hit Clark County around 3
p.m. Thursday, leaving thousands without of power and causing significant damage.
“The barns actually got picked up,” said Hans Eriksen, a Clark County resident who had the roofs of two barns pulled off during the storm. One barn was completely lifted and moved several feet away.
Those quick temperature changes can also cause damage to vehicles when potholes form from melting and freezing ground water in the roads.
“The weather is everythi n g when it comes to the pot holes, when you get that freeze-thaw that’s what really wreaks havoc on our roadways,” said Matt Bruning, spokesman of the Ohio Department of Trans- portation.
At 6:15 a.m. Friday, three cars were parked with hazards on the shoulder from Interstate 75 to U.S. 35 after their vehicles were damaged from hitting potholes. There are reports that the number of vehicles was larger earlier that morning.
The holes were temporarily filled with cones to alert drivers entering eastbound U.S. 35 near Perry Street. Later Friday morning, Dayton crews filled the wholes with hot mix, a rarity during the winter, said Tom Ritchie Jr., Dayton’s deputy director of public works.
“It’s an uphill battle. The mix that we’re able to use in the winter time is a cold mix, and a cold mix is a temporary fix,” Bruning said.
Some city streets were patched with the cold mix Monday, and only two days later the potholes needed filled again as the tempo- rary fix was washed away by heavy rain, Bruning said. But most of the asphalt plants that make hot mix close during cold conditions, taking that option off the table until spring to permanently fix the roads.
One hot asphalt plant is still operating in Middle- town, and Dayton made the decision this morning to take a truck down, get a load and fill the massive potholes on U.S. 35 and elsewhere, Ritchie said.
The city had 15 crews out filling holes Friday, up from the usual five, Ritchie said. Across the state, ODOT workers have spent 46,000 hours filling potholes since October.
It’s likely more potholes will form early next week, Bruning said. The Dayton area will stay below freezing through Saturday, but could thaw out Sunday and Monday when highs reach into the mid to upper 30s. The high Tuesday is forecasted in the high 40s.
There is potential for precipitation over the next three days: A mix and snow Sunday, a mix to rain Monday and showers in the morning Tuesday.
Ritchie said it’s helpful if drivers submit pothole com- plaints via the city’s Dayton Delivers phone app or by calling the service center number at 937-333-4800.