UPDATED 5:03 a.m.: Erie County has been upgraded to a Level 2 storm warning. "Visibility is greatly improved as the winds have started to abate," Sheriff Paul Sigsworth said. "Roads are still very icy, but are passable."
Sigsworth said road crews have been out all night.
Huron County Sheriff Dane Howard, too, has changed the storm warning to a Level 2 for the county.
A Level 3 winter road emergency is being declared in Erie County, effective at noon, Sheriff Paul Sigsworth said.
All nonessential people are being warned to stay off the roads, he said.
"The winds are picking up. Visibility in the rural areas is becoming increasingly obscured because of the blowing snow," the sheriff said.
He said he's particularly concerned about people trying to travel when it gets dark.
The Level 3 is being declared at noon to give businesses time to close, he said.
Level 3 winter conditions also have been declared in Huron, Ottawa and Sandusky Counties.
While people may be subject to arrest if they're out and about during a Level 3, that is not the goal of issuing the warning, both Sigsworth and Ottawa County Sheriff Steve Levorchick said.
"We understand there may still be people on the road after noon. The sun is out, but visibility is still difficult," Sigsworth said. "We don't want to arrest anyone. We want to impress upon people they shouldn't be out there."
The Sheriff's Office utilizes standardized winter road condition advisory levels to inform the public about the general condition of roadways throughout the county during a winter storm, particularly in the rural areas. Localized geographical areas within the county may experience better--or worse--road conditions then those listed in a given advisory level. Please monitor weather forecasts and/or information broadcast over or printed in local media outlets before you determine whether to venture out on the roadways. Please do not call the Sheriff's Office to make general inquiries about road conditions.
Level 1 - Roadways are hazardous due to accumulated snow or ice. Drive cautiously.
Level 2 - Roadways are hazardous due to blowing and drifting snow and/or ice cover. Only those who believe it is necessary to drive should be on the roadways. Contact your employer to determine if you should report to work.
Level 3 - Roadways are closed to all non-emergency travel due to extremely hazardous conditions. No one should be on the roadway unless it is absolutely essential to travel. Those operating vehicles on the roadway for non-emergency reasons may be subject to arrest.