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Clark County, Springfield road crews prep for weekend's winter weather

Springfield News-Sun, Ohio — Emily Williams Springfield News-Sun, Ohio

Jan. 12--With a winter storm set to hit the region Friday, Springfield and Clark County road crews are preparing for a busy weekend of plowing snow and spreading salt.

With about a year's worth of salt -- 6,000 tons -- on-hand, Clark County Engineer Johnathan Burr said there's no concern about running low this weekend.

Burr has been preparing trucks and crews this week for around-the-clock 12-hour shifts once the storm hits. Clark County will have about 10 trucks out at a time, he said, clearing 309 miles of road throughout the county.

"It's not like we haven't seen this before," Burr said. "It's winter in Ohio. But it's going to be messy."

In a matter of 48 hours, record-setting high temperatures will yield to potentially treacherous coating of ice and layer of snow that could make driving hazardous. A Winter Storm Watch is in effect from 7 a.m. Friday until 10 a.m. Saturday.

Rain showers are expected early Friday morning with temperatures quickly dropping into the 30s by mid-day, according to Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini. With the drop in temperature, precipitation will transition to a wintry mix.

About 2 to 4 inches of snowfall are expected, Zontini said, with a possible band of 4 to 6 inches of snow somewhere in the Miami Valley. Friday's mix of snow and ice will likely create slick roads Friday evening.

Snow showers are expected to taper off by early Saturday morning, Zontini said. Temperatures will be much colder, causing more slick road conditions, with a high of 20 and gusty winds.

Those early Friday rain showers make it complicated when it comes to prepping roads, Burr said.

"Anything we have on the roads will be washed off," he said. "So pre-treatment just isn't an option."

Wintry mix and Icy conditions are more difficult to clear and more treacherous for road crews, Burr said.

"I would much rather have more snow," Burr said.

Urbana already saw a few crashes earlier this week from slick roads. This month, the city has seen 12 crashes, resulting in about 10 transports, Urbana Fire Chief Mark Keller said.

Urbana's road crews are also preparing for the harsh weather, but Keller cautioned drivers that clearing roads takes time.

"It's hard to keep up with it," Keller said. "That's why we, as residents, have to take our time in those areas."

Compared to the past couple of years, Ohio has seen more snow and ice this season. The salt that's being used now to treat roads is still left over from last year, Burr said.

"This is a more active winter," said Chris Moore, Springfield service director. Moore has also been preparing city road crews for a long weekend.

The city of Springfield is ready for the storm, Moore said, but asked that residents do their part to keep roads safe, too.

"Be patient and be respectful of the snow plows," Moore said. "It's hard work that those men and women are doing."

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