Cincinnati Zoo and Newport Aquarium Close Due to Weather

Winter Storm Landon is here and businesses and attractions across the area have closed in anticipation of the impact.

click to enlarge Penguins playing in the snow in the Penguin Palooza exhibit at Newport Aquarium. - Photo: Newport Aquarium
Photo: Newport Aquarium
Penguins playing in the snow in the Penguin Palooza exhibit at Newport Aquarium.

Winter Storm Landon is here and businesses and attractions across the area have closed in anticipation of the impact.

Both the Cincinnati Zoo and the Newport Aquarium announced they would be closed on Thursday, Feb. 3, due to weather. The aquarium says it will reopen Friday, but the zoo is waiting to make that call until officials see how bad the weather is.

“We don’t know how bad the storm coming our way will be, but every weather report and prediction that I’ve seen indicates ice and snow,” said Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard in a release. “We don’t want our employees to risk dangerous commutes, and we’re concerned that icy conditions could make paths difficult for zoo guests to navigate.”

Both institutions have said that keepers and care teams will remain on site to care for the animals.

“The keeper team always puts the animals first. They will make sure that all their needs are met, even if it means spending one or two nights at the zoo,” Maynard said.

On Wednesday morning, the National Weather Service in Wilmington upgraded the Cincinnati area from a winter storm watch to a winter storm warning as Winter Storm Landon moves throughout the Rockies, Plains, Midwest and beyond. Meteorologists predicted rain in the area beginning on Wednesday, becoming sleet, ice and snow through Thursday. Though the exact amount of precipitation expected hadn't been determined at that point, the NWS says that the storm will continue through Friday.

Early Thursday morning, the NWS said that the rain will transition to a "wintry mix" Thursday evening.

A winter storm will affect the region today and tonight as colder air funnels southward while moisture moves up and over the cold air from the Gulf of Mexico. Locations along and southeast of the I-71 corridor will observe a transition from rain to a wintry mix to snow through tonight with various durations for each precipitation type. Snow tapers off on Friday and Arctic air builds in, leading to bitterly cold temperatures for the first part of the weekend.

On Wednesday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency and preemptively closed state offices for Thursday in anticipation of severe weather. Kentucky continues to try to regain its footing after being ravaged by tornadoes and a months-long COVID-19 spike.

As of 8:45 a.m. Thursday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has not followed suit, according to the governor's website and social media channels.

During a media briefing Wednesday at the Valley View Salt Dome, Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval, Assistant City Manager Sheryl Long and Traffic and Road Superintendent Jarrod Bolden implored city residents to heed snow and ice warnings and stay home

Bolden repeatedly said that Cincinnati residents should stay at home and off the roads during the storm so that the Department of Public Services can clear or treat the streets.

"If you don't have to travel when the conditions are the worst, stay at home," Bolden said.

Cincinnati residents can monitor main and neighborhood roads in real-time through the city's snow plow tracker. The tracker shows the time of the most recent treatment, and the data is searchable by time range, street name and neighborhood. 

Residents can also call the Department of Public Services at 513-591-6000 to get street information or provide information about weather-related incidents on the roads.

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