Valley prepares for winter storm

WARREN — A huge snow storm is expected to hit the northeastern part of the United States this weekend and area residents are preparing for the first heavy snowfall of the season.

Winter storm Harper will be bringing heavy snowfall to the area and Trumbull County could get hit with up to a foot of snow. WKBN 27 meteorologist Paul Wetzl said light snow Saturday morning will turn heavy into the afternoon and evening. There also is a chance for sleet and freezing rain south of Youngstown.

Heavy snow will continue overnight Saturday into Sunday and temperatures will fall into the teens. Lake-effect snow showers will accompany gusty wind, Wetzl said. He said the storm will bring a minimum of 4 to 7 inches, but 8 to 12 inches is likely before the storm leaves the area.

With the storm a couple days away, Lisa Miller, office manager at Do-Cut Sales & Services Inc. on Youngstown Road SE in Warren, said she has noticed that people are starting to panic.

“People have been purchasing new (snow) blowers, parts to be replaced on their older ones and we’ve had a lot of people bring in their blower to be repaired,” Miller said Thursday.

To help people prepare for the storm, she suggests making sure your snow blower works, that you have plenty of gas and that you check for parts that need to be replaced. She also said it’s important to check your driveway for debris, like branches, before you begin to plow, as it could be dangerous.

“The thing with snow is that you never know if it’ll be the light fluffy stuff, or the heavy stuff, and with plows, there’s no one-size-fits all. The more power you have, the further it’s going to throw snow and other items,” said Miller.

If you have to go out in the storm, the Ohio State Highway Patrol urges drivers to make sure they are careful and to slow down.

“Make sure your lights, windshield wipers, defrosters and heaters all work,” said Sgt. Michael Wilson. “Give yourself more time and try to have a winter emergency kit with you in the car.”

The Ohio Department of Transportation also urges drivers to share the road with the salt trucks and plows.

“Drivers should adjust to the conditions. We had three plows get hit last week,” said Matt Bruning, ODOT press secretary. “Drivers need to slow down and give the crews room to work.”

Bruning also said the salt trucks and plows will be out starting today to begin treating the roads before the storm, but drivers should still be cautious.

“When snow is coming down, the roads will not be great. Passable, not perfect, is what we go for,” said Bruning. “It’s kind of like when you shovel your driveway when it snows, by the time you’re at the end of your driveway, the part you started with has some snow on it. We will be out there, but the snow will keep falling.”

Bruning suggests drivers use for real-time traffic and construction updates.