Winter storm slams Portage

by Staff writers Published:

Snow started falling heavily across Portage County before 11 a.m. Wednesday, covering roads and putting a damper on after-Christmas shopping trips.

By afternoon, Kent, Ravenna, Stow, Cuyahoga Falls, Tallmadge and Mogadore had announced emergency parking bans and Portage County Sheriff Dave Doak had issued a Level 1 snow emergency for the county. A Level 1 emergency means "roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Roads may also be icy. Motorists are urged to drive very cautiously."

Despite the weather, Streetsboro Mayor Glenn Broska said there were no serious car accidents in Streetsboro, due to the wintry weather.

However, Streetsboro Police Lt. Darin Powers said there were some accidents.

"We did have a few minor crashes and cars in ditches, but, given the amount of snow, we did not handle as many traffic incidents as expected," he said.

Broska said Streetsboro was mentioned on WKYC Channel 3's local news as one of the three best communities in the area at maintaining their roads during the storm.

"I was very pleased with that," he said, adding the purchase of two new trucks helped the city keep more trucks on the road than in the past. "I went out at 8 p.m. [Dec. 26] and we had wet streets. That's a compliment to the service department guys."

Streetsboro had 10 plow trucks out on city streets the morning of the storm, said Broska.

Thomas Schmidlin, local weather expert and professor of geography at Kent State University, said three inches of snow had fallen by 1 p.m. Dec. 26.

The National Weather Service's Cleveland office cancelled a winter storm warning for Portage County at about 6 p.m. Dec. 26, replacing it with a winter weather advisory, which alerts residents to the potential for light, blowing snow, strong winds and sleet.

Shortly before 2 p.m. Wednesday, the Portage County Board of Commissioners announced it was closing all county buildings through noon Dec. 27.

Parking bans in some area cities enabled city crews to clear snow and ice from streets. During a snow emergency, parking on all city streets is banned to provide for snow and ice removal.

Numerous weather-related traffic crashes and instances of cars sliding off of roadways were reported throughout the day Dec. 26. Ohio Edison reported that about 240 people in Portage County, mostly Suffield residents, lost electricity during the afternoon due to power outages caused by the storm.

Travelers can check with the Ohio Department of Transportation's web site (www.buckeyetraffic.org) for road conditions throughout Ohio.

ODOT spokesman Brent Kovacs said the agency had 16 plow trucks "prepped and ready to go" before snow started to fall heavily across Portage and other northeast counties. ODOT maintains 500 miles of state roads in Portage.

"Our crews have been pretreating with brine over the past 24 hours. This prevents the snow from bonding to the pavement. Local, county and state road crews were already on the roads by late morning Wednesday," Kovacs said.

Kovacs reminded motorists to drive carefully for changing conditions and, "Don't crowd the plows. Please give the plows their space to work."

Portage County Engineer Michael Marozzi said all county crews were out by 11 a.m. Dec. 26 doing preventive salting where needed.

Some stores closed early and events were canceled because of the weather.

The snowfall was expected to let up early today as the storm center moved off to the northeast.

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  • "Bravo" and "Thank-You" to the MEN & WOMEN, who keep the City safe and the roads cleared during the snow falls. It's finally nice, to hear the "City of Streetsboro" mentioned in a good way, on air and in print. It has everything to do with the perceived reputation of our City. I spend a large amount of time trying to sell Streetsboro [as a final destination] to families and companies, from out of the City, State and Country, let's keep moving forward!