Preparing for storm
Find your snow shovel and heavy boots, get some salt for the driveway and walkways, and some sand — or cat litter — for your truck bed.
It’s going to be a dicey drive today, with slick roads and continuing, blowing snow.
Mahoning Valley residents spent Monday dodging heavy rain, which turned as expected to snow overnight.
The National Weather Service in Cleveland issued a winter storm warning through Tuesday evening for Trumbull County and watches for the rest of the Valley.
NWS officials said the overnight snow was 100 percent certain with initial accumulation of 1 to 2 inches.
Today there’s a 100 percent chance of snow with 3 to 5 inches possible, and temperatures in the lower 30s. This evening there is a 90 percent chance of snow with an additional accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.
Officials said by Wednesday the snow will taper off with a 40 percent chance of snow with a half-inch accumulation possible. Skies will be partly sunny.
Eric Wilhelm, meteorologist with 21-WFMJ TV, said the winter storm will be a wet one and the first impactful one of the season.
“It is going to be a very busy 24 to 36 hours across the Valley. Monday was mostly a chilly rain but began to change over to snow. Once it changes over, the snow will be here all day (Tuesday). It will be a wet snow with gusty winds at times which could mean some power outages,” he said.
There will be snow throughout today and into the evening — but clearier skies the rest of the week, Wilhelm said.
He said the wet snow will be difficult to shovel but good for packing and making a snowman.
Some communities issued snow bans warning vehicles would be removed from the roads so snow plows could clear pavement.
Trumbull County Engineer Randy Smith said his crews are “well-prepared to move forward.” He said the workforce has been healthy COVID-19-wise, taking the appropriate safety precautions. He said the number of trucks out salting and plowing Trumbull County roads will depend on the depth and location of any snowfall.
A state crew began at midnight treating roadways, said Tim Tyler, manager for the Trumbull County location of the Ohio Department of Transportation.
Mechanics have been working 10-hours days for the last two weeks trying to prepare trucks for the winter season, Tyler said.
Brine and salt are being used, usually 250 to 300 pounds per lane mile, he said.
Overnight 16 drivers, one mechanic and one dispatcher began their shifts, which are 12 hours.
For four hours, there is overlap between the shifts to ensure roadways are tended to, Tyler said.
Drivers could work 16 hours, but it gets difficult for the drivers to constantly tend the roads in the truck cabs, he explained.
Interstate 80 and state Route 11 are higher priority, Tyler said, and are treated more aggressively.
Between Trumbull and Mahoning counties, there will be about 40 trucks during this first snowstorm of the season.
In Mahoning County, Engineer Patrick Ginnetti said he has 20 trucks loaded with salt waiting to see what happens.
“Our (snow) crews usually ride with the same person all the time, and the guys have been very conscious of sanitizing the vehicles. Some guys have been doing it every day, just to be safe. I have to commend our crews for doing a great job,” Ginnetti said.
In Canfield, the Public Works Department spent the day transitioning trucks that have been used to collect leaves to salt and plow trucks.
John Rapp, department supervisor, said there are two crews consisting of four people watching the weather and manning the roads. Four dump trucks are utilized, and two small trucks for city buildings and cul-de-sacs are ready to go, too, he said.
The following announcements have been made due to impending inclement weather:
• OH WOW! The Roger and Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science and Technology has canceled its groundbreaking ceremony, scheduled for today, “due to the spike in COVID-19 cases in our community.”
• STEAM Academy of Warren
• Warren Trumbull County Main Public Library and branches
• Austintown, Poland, Struthers schools; Boardman remote only
• Millcreek Children’s Center, closed.
• Hubbard city– Until 8 p.m. today
• Liberty –12 a.m. today through noon Wednesday
• McDonald — Until 10 p.m. today
• Niles –Beginning 12:01 a.m. today through 3 p.m. Wednesday
Communities with parking bans direct motorists to remove their vehicles from public streets or face possible citations and / or vehicle impound.
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