(Cleveland) - A big dose of heavy, blowing snow is hitting much of northern Ohio.

At least seven counties in the northwestern part of the state around Toledo have told drivers to stay off the roads unless they are emergency or essential personnel.

The storm had dumped about a half-foot of snow on Toledo by mid-day Wednesday, with much of the city including the University of Toledo shut down.

A winter storm warning is in effect for much of northern Ohio where 4 to 8 inches of snow are expected along with high winds.

In Cleveland, police shut down a major downtown intersection because a flagpole was leaning dangerously over the street at East 12th and Superior Avenue.

Firstenergy Corp. reports close to 30,000 customers were without power at one point. Many of the outages were center in Parma where road salt on utility poles sparked transformer fires.

ODOT crews began making their rounds early, first plowing and then spreading salt on the interstates.

(Photos by Ken Robinson/WTAM)

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