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Costly Winter for Ohio

Costly Winter for Ohio

The "polar vortex" that hit Ohio earlier this year is one of the costliest natural disasters in Ohio history.

"We're looking at about $98 million in losses," said Mitch Wilson with the Ohio Insurance Institute.

The bulk of that amount is from home-owners insurance claims for things like frozen pipes or ice damming. Nationwide Insurance estimates the average water-damage claim they've deal with runs about $10,000.

The "polar vortex" appears to be the second costliest winter event since the Blizzard of 1993. The Blizzard of '78 was also a major event, but there are no solid numbers on losses from that storm.

"My guess would be that this is going to be one of the higher, if not the highest in Ohio history, for overall total losses from the winter as a whole, not just from one event," Wilson said.

It's also been costly to the state of Ohio. ODOT has spent $104,376,554 since October 1, 2013 on clearing snow and ice from Ohio roads. Plow crews have racked up 11 million miles, enough for more than 440 trips around the Earth. ODOT has purchased a record 1 million tons of road salt.

Road salt has been hard to come by too. ODOT's request for emergency supplies for local communities went unanswered by salt suppliers.

"The unprecedented winter across the snow belt has led to huge demand for road salt. We are working overtime in our mines to try to keep up with the demand. The same weather that is causing the demand for salt is also slowing trucks, trains and barges delivering salt," said Mark Klein with Cargill.

For many cities, the extreme cold has racked up the number of water main breaks. Akron has already seen the same amount of water main breaks in two months as they usually do in an entire year.

 

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