Winter in full force in the Ohio Valley
ST. CLAIRSVILLE — A snowstorm roared through the region Sunday and Monday and agencies and workers have been on duty trying to clear the roads, but some additional snowfall is expected.
The Pittsburgh branch of the National Weather Service reported areas of 6-8 inches of snow and 8-12 inches of accumulation in posts, with another 2-3 inches into Tuesday.
“The snow came down hard (Sunday) night. I think they were averaging 1 or 2-plus inches an hour, which was a lot and slowed us down, but we continued on and just needed to wait for the snow to slow down so we could get caught up,” Ohio Department of Transportation spokeswoman Lauren Borell said. “In these types of conditions, the roads are going to be covered. That’s what we expected and that’s what happened. Our crews kept pushing on all night long out on the roads.”
Borell added work continued into Monday.
“Right now, we’re doing our cleanup efforts. Thankfully the snow is slowing down, so we’ve been able to kind of catch up, but we still have a lot of work to do in terms of getting the roads totally cleared off. We’ll have another round of crews coming in noon (Monday) and they’ll continue those cleanup efforts, and of course we’re going to keep an eye on the forecast and watch for blowing and drifting snow as the day moves on, and we’re shooting for essential icy spots,” she said.
The public is also reminded to watch for plows and salt trucks and to take precautions around them.
“That’s one thing that our crews have to face when they’re out there. They’ve got their hands full not only plowing the snow but they’re watching for motorists as well. That’s why we encourage people when the roads are bad to just stay home and avoid those accidents,” Borell said.
Borell could not speculate on whether more significant snowfall could be expected in the future.
“It’s hard to say,” she said, adding that blowing and drifting snow will create hazards after the initial snowfall. Borell also said the COVID-19 pandemic has not impacted the ability of workers to respond.
The Belmont County Emergency Management Agency and 911 dispatch had no additional information to share.
At the St. Clairsville post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the dispatcher could give no information Monday, saying there were no troopers available and the post was “swamped” with crashes that morning.
Chief Deputy James Zusack at the Belmont County Sheriff’s Office said there were no major incidents deputies had dealt with as of Monday afternoon.
“We’re just being careful on the roadways. We haven’t got any weird calls,” he said. “Just we’re on a Level 2 and the snow is still drifting pretty good, but other than that … everybody be careful. As far as calls go, we are handling what we have to handle.”
In Harrison County, EMA Director Eric Wilson said conditions are bad but the response is “normal.”
“Everything’s under control. We’re constantly monitoring but there’s no indication that anybody needs assistance, but we’re always ready to help whenever we can,” he said.
“The state routes are in the best shape, which is not really good, then the county roads and the township roads, they’ve got less resources so they take a little bit longer to clear,” Wilson said. “Stay off the roads unless you have to. Let the road crews do their work, the village road crews. I did not receive reports of any significant accidents or injuries, we’re always happy about that. Everybody’s just doing what they can to shovel out and clear out. No reports of any electrical outages or anything. Those are the kind of things we monitor.”
In Monroe County, Sheriff Charles Black warns drivers of treacherous roads, but said there has not been an overabundance of crashes.
“I’m sure we’ve had people sliding into a ditch, but…most people are heeding the warning and staying in their house unless they have an urgent situation and going out,” he said. Black did not expect the road conditions to improve until well into Monday.
“We’re snow-covered and roads are slick, but of course we were all expecting that. Everybody had ample warning that a storm was coming in,” he said. I don’t think we got quite as much as what we were expecting, but we did get a nice layer of ice prior to the snowstorm. We’ve got an ice pack underneath the snow. It’s Ohio winter, that’s all I can say.”