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Wright-Patterson AFB closes for 3rd time this winter

A winter storm that barreled into the Miami Valley has shuttered Wright-Patterson for the third time this winter.

Southwest Ohio received a blast of snow and ice accumulation Tuesday and into early Wednesday morning, making travel hazardous and closing schools and cancelling activities throughout the region. The Miami Valley had four to nine inches of snow, mixed with freezing rain and sleet, according to WHIO forecasters.

This season, Wright-Patterson has had several work start delays or allowed employees to leave work early because of concerns about winter weather. Base essential employees, such as snow plow drivers and emergency responders, were expected to report for duty.

The base closures cost the military more than $3.3 million per day — including about $2.1 million for civilian workers and $1.2 million for military personnel.

Wright-Patterson spokesman John Scaggs said base snow crews could not keep up with the rate of snowfall to clear every road and parking lot in time for the morning rush hour.

Col. Cassie B. Barlow, 88th Air Base Wing commander, takes into consideration the distance many employees have to travel in varying road conditions to reach the base and the snow emergency levels in surrounding counties when she determines to close the sprawling installation, Scaggs said.

“She always has that in mind when she makes a determination to close the base,” he said.

The Miami Valley military installation is the largest single site employer in Ohio with more than 27,000 employees, according to the most recently released count.

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