April 20, 2014

Medina
Hazy moonlight
60°F

Heavy snowfall challenges plow drivers

The snow drift in the Brunswick Market Center plaza nearly obstructs the view of businesses in the plaza. Parking lots around the county are piling up the snow, but warmer temperatures on today and Thursday may bring a thaw. LOREN GENSON / GAZETTE

The snow drift in the Brunswick Market Center plaza nearly obstructs the view of businesses in the plaza. Parking lots around the county are piling up the snow, but warmer temperatures on today and Thursday may bring a thaw. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY LOREN GENSON)

What a difference a day makes. Monday evening the area was buried by blowing and drifting snow. By Tuesday afternoon, the sun was out and temperatures climbed to 40 degrees.

The rest of the week looks even better — except for residents in areas prone to flooding.

According to the National Weather Service, Monday night’s storm dropped between 5 and 8 inches of snow across Medina County.

Medina Service Director Nino Piccoli said Monday’s storm tested his crew’s resolve.

“This a more difficult situation than we’ve endured,” he said. “We had some significant breakdowns that put us way behind.”
Four of the city’s large plow-trucks — dump trucks equipped with 11-by-4-foot snow blades — broke down throughout the night, leaving Medina with half its fleet for nearly the entire shift.

He said the city’s ¾-ton trucks with smaller snow blades couldn’t handle the job.

Piccoli said they even considered calling off trash pickups. Plow crews were still working to make up the lost time well into Tuesday afternoon.

“Normally we’d have been way ahead of the game, even with the amount of snow we had,” he said. “But as you can imagine, having half the fleet down is going to impact our progress.”

Garbage routes were delayed by one hour to give plow crews time to clear the way.

Piccoli said the city used about 300 tons of salt but has plenty left.

But he said it’s not snow and ice he’s worried about now.

“Now we’re going to get rain and warm up next week, so hopefully there’s no flash flooding.”

Piccoli and other officials should prepare for the worst, though, according to forecasts.

Much of that snow will melt soon, with the high Thursday expected to approach 50 degrees.

The National Weather Service is forecasting rain and thunderstorms over the next few days, and it says that coupled with melting snow and ice could mean flash floods.

“Melting snow and rainfall will likely cause flooding to develop later Thursday into the weekend. River flooding, flash flooding and ice jam flooding are all possible,” the Weather Service warns. “In addition, thunderstorms with damaging winds will be possible Thursday night.”

Meteorologists are expecting up to an inch and a half of rain in some parts of the state and say any flooding is likely to hit northern Ohio worse because of the melting snow.

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.