Much of Northeast Ohio was slammed with up to 8 inches of snow overnight. That created a harrowing commute Wednesday for people who ventured out early and forced all Medina County schools to close again Wednesday.
The Medina County Sheriff’s Office issued a level 2 snow emergency Wednesday and urged residents to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary.
Local governments and businesses closed or delayed opening and two legislative committees in Columbus canceled hearings. Scattered power outages were reported around the state.
At Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, 22 of 24 listed departures were canceled Wednesday morning. Other airports in the state also saw flights canceled or delayed.
Local officials tasked with keeping the roads clear said they were just trying to keep up.
Medina Service Director Nino Piccoli said his crews were working 12- to 15-hour shifts as of 9 p.m. Tuesday, with 14 plow trucks on the roads.
Piccoli said the crews did not get to plowing residential streets until about 2 or 3 p.m. Wednesday.
“Given the nature of what we received, it was difficult to keep up with it,” he said. “We’re still eight to 10 hours away from cleanup.” That was at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Still, Piccoli said, the city saved on salt.
“We hardly salted at all until now. With this front finally moving out, it makes some sense to put some salt down,” he said. “Before with all the plowing, it would’ve just ended up on the tree lawn.”
He said snow in the city measured about 8 inches, but Medina only went through about 200 tons of salt for the day, only applying it to critical areas like hills and crossroads.
Piccoli said he’s grateful he was able to keep the city’s salt stock up in anticipation of more harsh weather on Sunday.
Brunswick Service Director Pat McNamara said his crews have been working ’round the clock and have made good progress.
“The main roads are in pretty good shape right now and so are the residential roads, but we’re still out there trying to get the neighborhoods cleaned up,” he said Wednesday. “They worked all through last night and today and will probably be working all through tonight.”
McNamara said his crews used between 300 and 400 tons of salt. But he said they’ve had salt deliveries through the day and he expects they’ll have enough for whatever nature brings this weekend.
Meanwhile, other local governments in Ohio soon could get some help replenishing their dwindling road salt supplies.
The big snows in Ohio started in early December and haven’t let up, leading to a salt shortage. The state said it is trying to negotiate deals, asking salt companies to bid on a set of new contracts that could make an additional 150,000 tons available to local governments across the state in about two weeks.
“We didn’t really order for anyone specifically. It’s a matter of if they approach us and ask for assistance,” said Christine Myers, the Ohio Department of Transportation Region 3’s spokeswoman.
Myers said no Medina County communities have asked for more salt yet.
According to the National Weather Service, most Ohio cities already have seen 15 to 30 inches more snow than is normal at this time of year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or firstname.lastname@example.org.