Plowers pose as snow angels for weekend white
By Elise Franco
County salt trucks and plows are ready to deal with the 6 to 10 inches expected today.
Flurries from the past few days should give way to steadier snowfall, with the first major snowstorm of 2009 expected to hit the Valley today.
The National Weather Service is projecting snowfall rates of an inch or more per hour at times and an accumulation of 6 to 10 inches for Mahoning and Trumbull counties this afternoon.
Road departments in both counties said they are prepared for any weather conditions thrown at them.
Parking bans because of the snow were issued by several communities, including Youngstown.
During a snow emergency, parking is prohibited on all streets except streets or alleys having a width of 25 feet or less and providing no driveway facilities, said Charles T. Shasho, Youngstown deputy director of public works. Any motor vehicle parked in violation of a ban will be subject to removal by towing at the owner’s expense.
Marty Patrick, Trumbull County highway superintendent, said his department had trucks ready and salt mixed on Friday.
“All the trucks are ready to go, and we’re just out doing our normal maintenance [Friday] on the road,” he said. “We did have some trucks up north doing some plowing. We’re just sitting back now waiting for the snow.”
Patrick said the amount of salt and how often trucks are seen on the roads will be dictated by the storm.
“We try to keep them out as long as we can, but we don’t have enough employees to run shifts,” he said “We have to keep them out as long as we think is safe, then bring them in and give them rest and send them back out.”
Patrick said drivers could spend as many as 12 hours at a time on the roads, ensuring motorists a safe drive.
Mahoning County Engineer Richard Marsico said his department is ready as well, with enough trucks and equipment to cover 22 snow routes.
“We make a run that takes about four hours to cover our 500 miles of road,” he said. “If the snow continues and needs it, we’ll go out again and continually clean the roads, depending on the road conditions.”
Both Marsico and Patrick agree that if snowfall is as heavy as expected, drivers should stay off the roads if possible.
If it’s absolutely unavoidable, be cautious of both speed and other vehicles, he said.
“When you see county or state vehicles, always be aware that these guys are out there plowing snow for you,” Patrick said. “Stay at least 50 feet from the back of the truck. It keeps you safe and keeps us safe.”
Friday, the National Weather Service put into effect a winter storm warning for both Trumbull and Mahoning counties that will last until 1 a.m. Sunday.
Brookfield Township and Leetonia Village were put under a snow emergency Friday afternoon through the weekend, to prepare for the impending storm.
Liberty Township requested all vehicles be removed from the streets between 8 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Sunday for plowing purposes.
All residents in those areas were asked to assist the street department by removing parked vehicles from the streets so snowplows can maneuver.
Snow emergencies occur any time 3 or more inches of snow fall in a short period of time.
According to the National Weather Service in Cleveland, January 1999 was Youngstown’s snowiest month on record, with 34.6 inches of accumulation. The most snow in one year, 102.8 inches, fell between 2007 and 2008.