Schools called off class, the Livingston County Courthouse closed, the library closed and authorities were urging motorists to stay home today (Thursday), if at all possible, in anticipation of a winter storm that was expected to blanket the area with between eight and 10 inches of snow.

The joint Emergency Operations Center for Livingston County and the City of Chillicothe was opened at level one.

"We are requesting that all local business and government offices consider closing and sending any non-essential personnel home," said Chillicothe Fire Chief Darrell Wright early this morning (Thursday).

"Based on the best information available at the time of the release, the storm is tracking towards this area and conditions are expected to rapidly change," Wright said. "This is the type of storm where motorist will become stranded."

The National Weather Service predicted heavy snow to start falling mid-morning and continue through Friday morning. Thunder was anticipated as well to accompany the snow, resulting in higher snow rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour at times.

Wind gusts were expected to reach 30 mph, thus creating blowing and drifting snow. Freezing drizzle was also expected to mix in at times Thursday evening. No ice accumulation was expected.

Snow Ordinance: Chillicothe Mayor Chuck Haney announced on Wednesday that the Emergency Snow Ordinance for the City of Chillicothe was in effect. Vehicles are to be removed from streets identified as snow routes, and along the streets in the downtown area so that snow removal efforts could take place.

Grocery stores were busy with shoppers stocking up on necessities of milk and bread Wednesday evening and this morning. Shovels and snow boots were also big-selling items in anticipation of the storm.

Authorities were urging motorists to stay home and only travel in an emergency. They suggested that for those who will be traveling to keep an extra flashlight, food and water in their vehicles in case of an emergency.

The forecast calls for temperatures on Friday to reach the upper 20s, with an overnight low of a frigid 7 degrees. Saturday's temperature is expected to reach a high of around 30, with a low of 16. There's a good chance that the snow will start melting on Sunday, with temperatures expected to reach the upper 30s.

Sheltering Available The fire department has sheltering available for stranded motorists.

"If you become stranded, please stay in your vehicle and contact 911," said Fire Chief Darrell Wright.

Anyone with questions should contact the Emergency Operation Center at 660-646-2139.