Medina County workers will be clocking overtime as the second winter storm within a week moves across the area, and officials are asking residents to stay off road so crews can do their job.
“People understand that this is winter in Northeast Ohio, and what we didn’t get in December and January, we’re going to get in February and March,” Medina Service Director Nino Piccoli said.
The area is under a winter storm warning through tonight. Windy conditions will develop today, with blowing and drifting snow and a high of 26 degrees. Another 1 to 3 inches of snow are possible today. Snow showers will continue tonight, and scattered snow showers are forecast for Thursday.
Snow fell steadily Tuesday, adding to the accumulation of a foot or more in most areas that last week’s storm dumped on Medina County.
“This is a tough storm because it’s long term,” Wadsworth Service Director Chris Easton said. “We’re looking at least 24 hours (of snowfall). It’s a long process, so it will take a while before we get to minor streets.”
The Ohio Department of Transportation reported it had 1,050 snowplows and trucks on state highways at the fringe of the storm on Tuesday morning, adding more throughout the day as the storm moved to cover the entire state.
Street departments were out in full force and working around the clock before noon Tuesday. Workers will continue to plow and salt roads after the storm winds down to clear side streets and areas of blowing and drifting snow.
Piccoli said Medina Street Department workers were on the road 11 hours Tuesday before being relieved by sanitary workers from 6 p.m. to midnight. Street workers would be back on the clock until the early morning hours, when sanitary workers again would take over, he said Tuesday evening.
“We’re running 24/7 to keep going from (Tuesday) morning to (Wednesday) night. Whatever it takes to clean up until it’s done,” Piccoli said.
Parking bans are in effect around the county, and most school districts canceled extracurricular activities Tuesday.
Additionally, officials countywide are espousing the importance of keeping fire hydrants clear of snow so rescue crews can locate them easily in case of a fire or other emergency.
“If you have a fire hydrant in front or near your property, it is critical that the snow around it be cleared away from it in case there is an emergency,” said Lafayette Township Trustee Nanci Shanley. “The time it takes fire rescue staff to locate and dig around a hydrant that is buried in the snow can make all the difference between life and death.”
No major traffic accidents were reported by Tuesday evening, but dozens of minor accidents and stuck cars were reported throughout the county.
Sgt. Mark Neff of the Ohio Highway Patrol said “so far so good” during rush hour Tuesday, but added that while the last storm occurred when most people weren’t working, this storm is hitting midweek, which could mean more accidents as people commute to and from work.
Officials urged residents not to drive unless absolutely necessary.
“Unless people really need to be out, we’d like them to stay off the streets during the worst part of the storm so the plows can do their work,” Piccoli said.
Contact Lisa Hlavinka at (330) 721-4048 or firstname.lastname@example.org.