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Whiteout conditions, bitter cold come to Central Ohio

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Some parts of Central Ohio were experiencing blizzard-like conditions Friday morning after an overnight storm blanketed the region in snow and bitter cold.

Temperatures were near or even below zero across Central Ohio. They’re forecast to remain there through Friday and into Saturday morning.

Before the storm hit, state transportation and emergency management leaders were doing their best to convince Ohioans to stay home and prepare for the worst, including power outages. As of 7:45 a.m. on Friday, America Electric Power of Ohio reported 13,509 customers without electricity.

“One of those (ways to prepare) is by having your devices charged up and ensuring that you have a way to have outreach," Ohio Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Sima Merick said during a Thursday press conference.

“The obvious recommendation to everyone is stay home,” Gov. Mike DeWine said in the same press conference. “There is significant danger that can come from driving off the road. Your car can cool much quicker than normal. And the ultimate concern of course is skin exposure, hypothermia."

Also joining DeWine and Merick was Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jack Marchbanks, who said the department had 3,000 employees and 1,600 snow plows ready to treat roads.

Thursday’s mild weather complicated efforts to get ahead of the storm. The rain made it harder to effectively treat roads with brine, which road crews typically use to coat roads before heavy snowfall.