CLEVELAND - It was a messy end to the work week for many commuters who fought treacherous road conditions and snail-paced traffic as snow hit throughout the region Friday morning.
Power of 5 Meteorologist Christine Ferreira said a heavy band of lake effect snow set up over Cuyahoga, portions of Lorain, northern Summit and northern Portage counties, dumping one to two inches of snow per hour and leaving some with as much as six inches on the ground.
The squall became stationary over Cuyahoga County, snarling commutes on major highways, especially for those coming downtown from the west side.
John Ballas, a west side snow plow driver, was caught off guard by the stealth snowstorm.
"Usually this is snow band and east side stuff," Ballas said.
Early Friday morning, NewsChannel5 photographer Mike Vielhaber deemed the rush hour conditions among the "worst he has ever seen." His thoughts were foretelling of what was to come as the morning continued.
Whiteout conditions persisted in some spots, such as I-90 at Bishop, and irritated drivers sat in traffic for hours in others.
"Looking at traffic cams and I seriously think I am looking at the same cars stuck on 71 NB at w 25th street that were there at 8 a.m.," Good Morning Cleveland reporter Jackie Zabielski said just before 10 a.m.
Zabielski called the area a "parking lot" for close to three hours.
Spinouts were reported all over Cleveland and police advised drivers to avoid the Innerbelt Bridge, the usual view of the city skyline erased by a whiteout blur.
While many were stuck in traffic, plenty of northeast Ohio kids reveled in the joys of a snow day with more than 160 schools closed or delayed because of the winter weather.
Viewers and NewsChannel5 crews sent in pictures from in the thick of the squalls. A snowman built by Meteorologist Trent Magill was blown over by strong wind and a measuring stick showed half a foot of snow in hard hit Rocky River.
Cleveland, along with a few other northeast Ohio cities, instituted parking bans Friday morning.
You may be in store for more this weekend too. After a break late Friday night through early Saturday, snow is expected to return by Saturday with 1-3 inches in the forecast.