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Wrong-way crashes on the rise

Published: Thursday, April 28, 2016 @ 5:51 PM
Updated: Monday, May 02, 2016 @ 5:52 PM

NewsCenter 7 talked with the Ohio Department of Transportation about potential changes that have been discussed in an effort to keep drivers from traveling the wrong direction on Ohio highways.

"It was coming right at me," said the 9-1-1 caller who was almost hit by a wrong way driver last February on Interstate 75. "I just pulled over to the side to get out of the way."

Seconds later, that same wrong way driver struck an SUV head-on. Five people were dead. 

More calls poured came into the 9-1-1 dispatch center including one from a motorist who stopped to try and help the victims. 

"Are they responding to you?," asked the dispatcher. 

"No, nobody's responding," replied the caller. 

Three of the victims were members of the rock band "Counterflux" and they were Justin Neace's best friends. 

"I was just with them the night before and I was supposed to be traveling with them," said Neace. "I dropped my phone. I broke down to my knees and I lost it."

In March, a woman died when troopers said she drove into a semi on Interstate 70. Then, two weeks later, a man died on 70 when he steered into an overpass pillar. In the first three
months of this year, 12 people died in wrong way crashes in our state and 8 of those victims were from Southwest Ohio. 

>>INTERACTIVE MAP: See some of the wrong-way crashes in the area<< 

"One person going 70, and the other person going 70, you're talking about a 140 mile per hour impact," said Lt. Brian Aller of the Ohio Highway Patrol. "The best thing you can do is slow down."

Wrong way crashes make up less than one-tenth of one percent of highway accidents. Yet, they are 100 times more likely to be deadly. The Ohio Department of Transportation said they happen all over but mostly in urban areas. 

ODOT's Matt Bruning said, "The challenge isn't so much what to do as where to do it. Where do you put the counter measures because they're so random?"

Statistics show in many cases, the drivers at fault were hard core drunk drivers. 

"These aren't people who are blowing a 0.08," said Bruning. "These are people who are two or three or four times the legal limit. They are very drunk."

Now, ODOT officials are focusing on new wrong way warning signs. 

"The state has started adding more wrong way signs closer to the ground. They say the material is cheap and they've learned drunk drivers typically have a lower field of vision," said Bruning.

Traffic spikes are not being considered because experts say they actually make ramps more dangerous and they are only effective at low speeds. 

In California, officials are improving warning devices like lights and sensors and the North Texas Tollway Authority is installing red pavement reflectors and flashing lights on exit ramps. Experts say wrong way crashes there have dropped 60 percent.

"We're certainly open to look at anything," said Bruning. "We obviously have to look at is it financially the right thing to do?"

Most everyone we interviewed agree that the best way to prevent wrong way crashes is to keep drunk drivers off the road. 

Justin Neace now wonders what he would do if a car was coming at him on the highway. 

"It's made me realize that anybody can go at any time," Neace said.

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WPAFB Friday Weather: Sunshine, warmer temperatures continue 

Published: Thursday, May 24, 2018 @ 11:36 PM

WRIGHT PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE—Plenty of sunshine for the day with even warmer temperatures than earlier in the week peaking in the mid-80s.

RELATED: 5-Day Forecast

Humidity will build through the weekend as highs top out in the mid to upper 80s. A few pop up showers are expected both Saturday and Sunday. 

Hot, humid temperatures, including a 90 degree index are in the forecast for Memorial Day. 

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Clear skies overnight; threat for Memorial Day weekend storms

Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 @ 3:30 AM
Updated: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 @ 5:10 PM

Humidity and chances for storms return for memorial weekend.

Skies will be clear with comfortable conditions as temperatures drop into the middle 50s, Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell said.

QUICK-LOOK FORECAST

  • Quiet and comfortable overnight
  • Air Quality Advisory Thursday for Butler, Warren counties
  • Memorial Day weekend: Heat, humidity, threat for pop-up storms

>> WHIO Live Doppler 7 HD Interactive Radar

DETAILED FORECAST

>> Air Pollution Advisory Thursday for Butler, Warren counties

Thursday: Lots of sunshine is expected with temperatures rebounding back into the lower 80s. Humidity levels will remain low. An Air Quality Advisory is issued for Thursday for Butler and Warren counties in anticipation of high ozone levels.

An Air Quality Advisory is in place for Thursday in Butler and Warren counties

>> Tropical System may form over Memorial Day Weekend

Friday: Mostly sunny skies are in the forecast but temperatures will heat up into the middle 80s.

>> What is the UV index and how do you protect your skin?

>> County-by-County Weather

Saturday: The heat and humidity will begin to build with partly cloudy skies. There is a chance for some afternoon and evening pop-up thunderstorms. Highs will be in the upper 80s.

>> LISTEN: Cloudy with a chance of Podcast: A podcast for weather fans 

>> #SkyWitness7 How to spot the planet Jupiter through the weekend

Sunday: It will be quite warm and humid with partly cloudy skies and a chance for pop-up thunderstorms.

>> 5-Day Forecast

Memorial Day:  Expect it to be partly cloudy and humid Monday with a continued chance of mainly afternoon/evening pop-up storms. Highs will be in the upper 80s.

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Florida's 10 safest cities in a hurricane

Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2018 @ 4:54 PM
Updated: Tuesday, May 15, 2018 @ 4:54 PM

Get Ahead of the Storm - 5 Severe Weather Hacks

There’s really no place that’s 100 percent safe in Florida when it comes to hurricanes.

Even Orlando got hit twice in 2004 by hurricanes Charley and Frances.

>> Read more trending news

And, although Florida enjoyed a more than 10-year hurricane drought after 2005’s Hurricane Wilma, Hurricane Hermine made landfall in the Florida Panhandle in 2016. 

Still, Homeinsurance.com has ranked Florida’s cities based on their evaluation of NOAA-identified storms from 1965 to October 2014, doling out scores based on the number of storm events, number of storm-related deaths, property damage and storm-related injuries.

The top 10 safest cities in Florida during a hurricane, according to the insurance study, are:

  1. Leesburg
  2. Orlando
  3. Sanford
  4. Kissimmee
  5. Palatka
  6. Lake City
  7. Naples
  8. Ocala
  9. Gainesville
  10. Fernandina Beach


The entire ranking is below.

Read more about the Home Insurance study here.

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Heat Index: What is it? Why does it matter?

Published: Thursday, May 24, 2018 @ 6:35 AM

Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini looks into what the heat index is and why it is important.

 In the winter we talk about wind chill and in the spring and summer, it is the heat index that is important, according to Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini.

RELATED: What is UV Index and how to protect your skin

Both are apparent or "feels like" temperatures. The heat index is a "feels like" temperature that looks at the actual air temperature and how much moisture is in the air, either with relative humidity or dew point. When it is hot, it can be uncomfortable. When it is hot and muggy, it is a different level for our bodies. 

The amount of moisture in the air impacts how well our bodies can cool off. When you are hot, your body starts to sweat, that sweat is then evaporated from your body into the atmosphere. If the moisture content of the air is high, it is harder for that evaporation to take place, and harder then for your body to cool down. 

LISTEN: Cloudy with a chance of Podcast: A podcast for weather fans 

Here is the actual equation for calculating heat index: 

 

HI = -42.379 + 2.04901523*T + 10.14333127*RH - .22475541*T*RH - .00683783*T*T - .05481717*RH*RH + .00122874*T*T*RH + .00085282*T*RH*RH - .00000199*T*T*RH*RH

 

As the air temperature and relative humidity increase, the heat index will as well. If it is 88 degrees with a relative humidity of 55%, the heat index would be 93 degrees. If it was 100 degrees with a relative humidity of 55%, the heat index would reach 124 degrees. This makes being outside when it is hot and humid more dangerous. 

  • 80-90° - Use caution. Prolonged activity outside or exposure could be dangerous. 
  • 90-103°- Use extreme caution. Lengthy exposure can cause heat cramps, heat stroke or heat exhaustion
  • 103-124°- Danger! Heat cramps and heat exhaustion likely. Prolonged exposure can lead to heat stroke. 
 

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