April 19, 2014

Medina
Mostly sunny
54°F

Road crews braced for major winter storm; it petered out by nightfall

By Loren Genson, Kiera Manion-Fischer and Nick Glunt

Road crews across Medina County prepared for the worst.

It wasn’t.

Frank Andrasak, who works for the Brunswick Service Department, fills a snow plow with salt at the service center on West 130th Street in Brunswick on Wednesday morning. Crews worked throughout the county to try to keep roads clear. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY LOREN GENSON)

The winter storm warning that was slated to remain in effect until 7 a.m. today was canceled by the National Weather Service at 5:43 p.m. Wednesday.

The predicted 6 to 12 inches of snowfall also came up short.

As of 7 p.m., Akron-Canton Airport reported little more than 5 inches of snow while Cleveland Hopkins measured even less — 4.3 inches.

Additional accumulations of 1 to 3 inches are predicted overnight.

Brunswick Street Supervisor Ryan Lutz was bracing for a lot more.

Lutz was on the phone Wednesday morning calling employees in to work longer shifts and asking others to cut their vacations short to help plow and salt the roads.

“We’ll have our day crew on until 10 p.m. and then the early shift comes in early to work overnight,” Lutz said.

But by late afternoon, Lutz said most streets were getting cleared of snow by the end of rush hour.

“We’re getting caught up because the snow doesn’t seem to be what we expected,” he said. “We’ve got our main and secondary roads clear, and now we’re hitting the back roads.”

In Medina, Service Director Nino Piccoli said his department also was prepared for a major storm, with seven large trucks out plowing along with four smaller trucks.

“We’re just trying to stay ahead of the storm,” he said about 4 p.m.

By evening, Piccoli said all the city’s trucks were still out and motorists seemed to be staying off the roads, making the plowing easier.

“In the city, they’re doing very well,” he said. “We’re fortunate because we didn’t get the wind that they we talking about earlier.”

A spokesperson for the Medina post of the Ohio Highway Patrol reported no serious crashes Wednesday and “not that many” fender-benders.

Medina police recorded only five motor-vehicle accidents since the snow started falling Wednesday morning. Again, no injuries were reported.

Montville Township Police Chief Terry Grice said Wednesday afternoon that his department had received nine calls related to the storm of either minor accidents or vehicles sliding off the roads.

Medina Township Police Chief David Arbogast said he’d only received one report of a minor accident.

“It’s been quiet so far, hopefully we’ll keep it that way,” he said.

Denny Miller, Medina Township road superintendent, said he had five trucks out, mainly plowing snow and not putting much salt down until the snow stopped.

Dennis Clapper, Montville Township roads superintendent, said snow plows were having difficulty keeping up with the snow during the worst of the storm.

“As soon as we plow it, it covers right back over it again,” he said.

Wadsworth Service Director Chris Easton said he expected the roads in his city to be cleared by this morning.

“This is a pretty normal storm,” Easton said. “We’ve got all our resources in line deal with this snow.”

He said between six and eight workers are scheduled to take to the streets in 1-ton and 5-ton plow trucks.

Once the main roads are cleared, he said they’ll start throwing down salt and clearing the side roads.

“It takes about eight hours to get through the whole city,” Easton said, “so we should have it done by Thursday morning.”

The storm cut short the work day as many private businesses let employees leave early.

Medina County government offices closed at 2 p.m. to allow employees to make their way home before the snow piled up.

Shandra DeVoe, deputy director for Medina County Emergency Management Agency said her agency stayed in contact with the National Weather Service throughout the day, passing along important information to the Sheriff’s Office and local police departments.

“We’re just staying prepared and alert to see how this storm turns out,” DeVoe said.

DeVoe recommended residents visit www.ema.co.medina.oh.us to find winter weather tips and to sign up for mass notifications for weather and other emergencies.

Contact Loren Genson at (330) 721-4043 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com, Contact Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or kfischer@medina-gazette.com. Contact Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.