Icy Blast Closes Schools, Leaves Travelers Stranded

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A winter storm packed an icy punch, closing schools, knocking out power and stranding travelers on Tuesday.

The second round of freezing rain is expected to arrive in central Ohio on Tuesday evening and continuing for several hours. Get the latest forecast here.

Crews were bracing for power outages, which could be caused by falling limbs and ice-covered power lines.

Private contractors hired by AEP Ohio arrived from other states on Tuesday afternoon and were staging in Marion.  They will wait for the storm's second round and be dispatched to locations with outages.

The company said it expects hundreds of line workers and damage assessors from eight southern states to travel to Ohio today in preparation for potential power outages due to accumulating ice and increasingly high winds. Customers can report outages at 800-277-2177 or online here.

South Central Power was not reporting any power outages. However, customers who experience an outage can report it at 1-877-688-2437.

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The storm was affecting flights around the nation as much of the Midwest dealt with winter weather.

Crews at Port Columbus International Airport spent much of Tuesday de-icing planes but there were still several flight cancellations, affecting arrivals and departures. Get flight, traffic information here.

Scores of schools, daycares and businesses were closed Tuesday, including Columbus City Schools, the state's largest public school district.

The Ohio State University and Columbus State Community College were among the campuses who canceled evening classes on Tuesday as more freezing rain moved in.

Crashes snarled traffic and shut down roads during the commute.

Crews with the Ohio Department of Transportation were working in 12-hour shifts to plow and salt state roadways and interstates. More than 120 snow plows treated roads in Delaware, Fayette, Franklin, Madison, Marion, Morrow, Pickaway and Union counties.

The city of Columbus opened its Emergency Operations Center at 3 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon to help coordinate efforts to clear streets and sewers and provide assistance to emergency crews.

The EOC is expected to remain open to at least until 7 a.m. Wednesday, the city said.
  
Columbus announced that there will be no collections of curb side yard waste and curb side subscription recycling service by Rumpke on Tuesday because of icy roads. Icy conditions could hamper garbage collection and the city said any regular trash collection will be completed as soon as it can be picked up safely.

Residents get answers to storm-related questions, including any trash collection delays at 614-645-3111 or  here.

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