severe weather

What Butler County crews do to prepare for winter storms like today’s

Published: Saturday, January 12, 2019 @ 7:00 AM

Photo by Ty Greenlees/Staff file
Ty Greenlees
Photo by Ty Greenlees/Staff file(Ty Greenlees)

Hundreds of area snow plows are fueled up, filled with salt and ready to clear streets and highways during the season’s first significant snowfall.

In Butler and Warren counties, forecasters are predicting anywhere from 3-5 inches, with higher amounts possible in some areas. Snow is expected to start falling around 6 a.m. today, with temperatures in the upper 20s. Heavier snow is expected in the afternoon, with less snowfall Saturday and small snow showers Sunday morning.

At Ohio Department of Transportation District 8, which covers a seven-county area in southwest Ohio, including Butler, Warren, Hamilton and Preble counties, “We’ve got 148 trucks ready to roll,” said spokeswoman Liz Lyons. “And we’ve got plenty of salt — 52,170 tons of salt left.”

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Hamilton Public Works Director Jim Williams said 12-hour shifts have been arranged for plow drivers, each shift with 16 vehicles.

Of those, 10 trucks will be assigned to individual routes, another four will be plowing in tandem on the city’s main thoroughfares (two on the East Side and two on the West Side), with another truck plowing narrow streets, and yet another to plow parking lots at the police station, fire station and all other city-owned parking lots.

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In Middletown, crews on Friday already were treating major roadways, highways and bridges, city officials said. City crews also were scheduled for 12-hour shifts today, continuing into Sunday.

Middletown has 20 plow trucks, which will be spreading salt while they clear the snow along 620 lane miles of streets, said Public Works Director Scott Tadych. Of those 20 trucks, 10 are larger dump trucks, the rest heavy-duty pickups.

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Middletown has 4,500 tons of salt, said Tadych, who was glad to hear the forecast didn’t call for ice along with the snow, because ice “can be more difficult to deal with, in some ways.”

ODOT had not spread much salt on highways prior to this storm, Lyons said. The district started the season with about 58,400 tons.

State crews were expected to convene at 11 p.m. Friday in case the storm might arrive earlier than expected.

Those ODOT trucks and drivers will be responsible for clearing 3,860 lane miles of state highways and interstate routes.

“We’re going to get all the priority routes cleared first — interstates — and keep working around the clock until we get everything clear,” Lyons said.

Motorists should “please give the plows room, and watch for the rooster tail” of snow thrown into the air by the plows, Lyons asked.

Drivers should also “take it easy” and keep more distance between their vehicles and others, Lyons said. Also, people should avoid driving if it’s not necessary, she added.

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  • See the five-day forecast on Page C6.