A white 2000?

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 28, 1999

City, county and state road crews kept busy clearing slick roads this morning after a Monday storm dropped about an inch of snow across the Tri-State overnight.

Tuesday, December 28, 1999

City, county and state road crews kept busy clearing slick roads this morning after a Monday storm dropped about an inch of snow across the Tri-State overnight.

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And, those crews might spend a few more hours in the salt truck seat this afternoon and evening, as forecasts call for an additional inch, said Tom Mazza, meteorologist with the Charleston, W.Va., bureau of the National Weather Service.

"There’s more snow headed from the west," Mazza said. "There’s a slight chance of snow showers for this afternoon. It could accumulate about an inch. But we’ve got a partial clearing in the forecast for tomorrow."

The region received about an inch of snowfall Monday night.

That cold front is moving east, and the one arriving today should do the same by tomorrow, Mazza said.

"Ohio will be the first to clear out," he said. "You’ll likely get some clearing sometime during the morning hours and have a partly sunny afternoon."

Temperatures will warm up by Wednesday, when the highs could reach the lower 50s, but the area will have to weather one more cold front before the dawning of the new year, Mazza added.

"Thursday night, there’s a chance of rain showers," he said. "Friday, there’s a chance of snow showers. But for New Year’s Day, it will be mostly clear with lows in the low 20s and highs in the low 40s."

Although snow is predicted today, road crews are prepared.

"We’re ready for it," said John Minzelli, a transportation manager at the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Ironton garage.

If the snow hits, the state will put 12 trucks on the road to scrape and spread salt, Minzelli said.

Primary roads like U.S. 52, Ohio 93 and Ohio 7 are worked first, then crews hit the others, he said.

The state spreads salt combined with calcium chloride and crushed limestone grit on roads. The calcium chloride helps the salt clear snow from roads when air temperature falls below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, Minzelli said.

Using the salt and grit mixture, crews had no problems taking care of snow-covered roads overnight, Minzelli added.

Only a few trouble spots remained this morning, he said.

"We have three patrols of three trucks each checking for any slick spots," Minzelli said about 9 a.m.

County roads remained slick, but with salt and scraper trucks out battling the slush, highway supervisor Jim O’Keefe expected conditions to improve before noon.

"We have 10 trucks out and everything should be covered in two and a half to three hours," O’Keefe said shortly before 9 a.m.

"Then, we’ll go back this afternoon and the curves and hills again and see if we can head off anything we get tonight," he said.

County crews mix salt with No. 8 gravel, which helps prevent snow from freezing and improves tire traction for vehicles, he added.

City workers got out on the street Monday night to clear up dangerous spots prone to early freezing, said Mike Pemberton, street superintendent.

A crew of two men salted overpasses, bridges and dangerous hilly areas like Indian Hills at the first sign of snow accumulation Monday, Pemberton said.

And the street department is preparing to salt again tonight once the next expected snowfall arrives, Pemberton said.

"We’ve got our salt truck loaded," he said. "And we have three plows ready to go if we need them. We haven’t had enough accumulation to put the plows out at this time. So far we’ve just been putting down salt."

If more snow arrives, the street department will not only try to clear up the overpasses, bridges and dangerous areas, but also will concentrate on intersections and the entrances to River Valley Health System, Pemberton said.


"We’re as ready as we’ll ever be," he said. "We still have in our salt bin about 120 tons of salt. We still have plenty of salt. I’ll probably order about 50 tons more in the middle of January. Hopefully that will carry us to the spring. You can’t really guess what Mother Nature will do, but you still have to be prepared."

When the snow first arrived Monday evening, shoppers crowded into grocery stores to stock up before the storm hit, said Mike Huber, Bartram and Son Grocery manager.


Huber doesn’t expect that trend to continue because predictions are not for heavy snow. And, even though conditions may become worse in the north, groceries should not be hard to find.

"We have never had any problems in the past getting our deliveries, and we don’t look for any problems," Huber said. "They pretty much keep the roads cleared off that way and our suppliers have always been good to us."