CINCINNATI -- A burst of scattered showers dumped ice and snow across the Tri-State on Thursday morning, killing at least two people in multiple crashes and slide-offs.
Quick changes of weather can cause black ice and make it difficult to treat roads in advance, according to AAA spokesperson Jenifer Moore. That's what happened Thursday.
"Motorists should always be alert and ready for anything to change at a moment's notice," Moore said.
Both Interstate 71 and Interstate 75 north of the Interstate 275 loop were shut down by 5 a.m. Thursday as emergency crews responded to crashes. Problem spots included:
- At about 5 a.m., a double fatal crash closed northbound I-75 before Union Centre Boulevard, according to a West Chester Township spokeswoman. Lanes started to reopen at 8:45 a.m. The Ohio State Highway Patrol identified the two killed in the West Chester crash as Rodney J. Bartleston Jr., 34, and Marvin Eugene Hunter, 43, both of Cincinnati. The crash remains under investigation.
- A separate crash on southbound I-75 at Union Centre has been causing heavy delays throughout the morning.
- At 8:52 a.m., westbound Ronald Reagan Cross-County Highway was briefly closed at Galbraith Road due to a crash.
- At 8:30 a.m., westbound I-275 was closed near Dixie Highway due to a crash. The road reopened at about 9:45 a.m.
- At 7:55 a.m., westbound I-275 was closed near the AA Highway due to a crash. It reopened at about 9:30 a.m.
- At 7:30 a.m., southbound I-71/75 was closed at Burlington Pike due to a crash. Lanes began to reopen at 8:45 a.m. A separate crash also slowed northbound traffic at that same exit.
- At 7 a.m., a crash on westbound I-275 at the Carroll Cropper Bridge (between Kentucky and Indiana) blocked the left lanes. it cleared by 8:45 a.m.
- By 5 a.m., northbound I-71 at Fields Ertel Road was closed due to two semitractor-trailers and three cars that crashed. Lanes on the highway reopened at about 7 a.m.
- By 5 a.m., a crash closed the ramp from westbound I-275 to northbound state Route 747.
- By 5 a.m., Interstate 275 from Hamilton Avenue to I-71 was slick and icy with multiple crashes.
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Bridges and overpasses were particularly slick Thursday morning as they were exposed to freezing air both above and below the road's surface. Meteorologist Jennifer Ketchmark explains the science behind this phenomenon in the video below:
Hills add another complication for Tri-State drivers. Moore said black ice on hills can be "very dangerous."
"It can look like water, but actually be ice," she said. "It can look like ice, but actually be a pothole."
The high number of crashes prompted the Cincinnati Police Department to enact its Emergency Auto Accident Reporting Procedure from 8 to 9:45 a.m. Thursday. This means the department could only respond to crashes that resulted in injuries for the time being.
@CincyPD has enacted the Emergency Auto Accident Reporting Procedure. While this is in effect we will only respond to injury related accidents. Drivers involved in non-injury accidents should exchange information & report at a later time.
— Cincinnati Police (@CincyPD) March 8, 2018
AAA recommends keeping a good distance between vehicles. They also say it's a good idea to keep an eye on local forecasts, and to remember roads can be slicker than they look.