Sunday, March 12, 2000

Cold blast a reminder of calendar

Forecasted snow storm doesn't show

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        For those lulled into a false sense of spring by the recent warm spell, this weekend's weather is a reminder that it is still winter.

        A week ago, Tristate residents were basking in temperatures in the 70s.

        Forecasters are predicting more Marchlike weather the next few days, with lows typically in the 20s and highs in the 40s and 50s.

        On Saturday, sleet and freezing rain caused so many collisions on Interstate 75 that Cincinnati Police went into emergency mode. Most areas received less than 1 inch of snow - far less than the predicted 3-6.

        The onslaught of cold weather provoked a slew of questions to gardening experts Saturday at the Cincinnati Home and Garden show.

        Many wondered how they could save their tulip bulbs and perennials that had already started blooming.

        “This is not a bad deal,” said Sharon Holtzman, a local gardener. “Snow doesn't scare me like a hard frost. I didn't do anything. People make a mistake of covering all their plants with plastic.”

        Gardener Karen Andrews said there are some plants and trees that will lose their blooms, but there is nothing a gardener can do. These include ornamental fruit trees such as pears already in bloom, magnolia trees and daffodils.

        Tulips that have not yet bloomed should be fine.

        “It's Cincinnati, don't panic,” Ms. Holtzman said. “Our plants are used to this weather. It happens every year.”

        In Cincinnati, police were not responding Saturday afternoon to minor accidents where the cars were driveable and no injuries were reported.

        Instead dispatchers were telling motorists to trade information and head to the nearest police district to file a report.

        It was the same everywhere, as Tristate police were deluged with minor traffic accidents.

        Today, the National Weather Service predicts cloudy skies with a high of 43 and a low of 29.

        Similar conditions are expected for Monday, with lows in the mid-20s. AccuWeather forecasters also predict rain for Monday and temperatures as high as 51.

        Tuesday there will be limited sunshine with lows in the 30s.

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