Winter Storm Arrives, NE Ohio Ready

CLEVELAND —  Northeast Ohioans are prepared for the first big winter weather event of the season.

A winter storm warning is in effect for several counties; a winter weather advisory for the rest of Ohio.

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The storm is expected to bring gusting winds around 50 MPH and dump several inches of snow.  The snow belt could see about 6 to 12 inches.

“I don’t really like the snow, so it’s like I kind of don’t want the snow to come,” said Deanna Satullo of Lakewood.

John Oliver said, “I’m happy in a way.  I like snow around Christmas, but as far as icy roads, I’m not too excited about that, you know, lot of accidents and stuff out here.”

Accidents and fender benders are definitely a possibility with this particular weather system.

The Ohio Department of Transportation has been preparing for it for days.

All of the garages and salt domes will be fully staffed throughout the duration of the storm, and loads of salt and brine will be applied as needed.

“That means about 75 trucks on the road and they’ll stay on the road until the storm subsides,” said Jocelyn Clemmings, ODOT spokesperson.

New green lights have been added to the plows.  The district is the first in the nation to use the green lights. 

The lights should make the trucks more visible in bad weather and reduce the number of vehicle/plow collisions.

“The biggest danger of the plows is that they’re traveling well below the posted speed limit,” said Amanda Lee, ODOT spokesperson. “So if you come up on one them super fast and you’re not ready to stop, I mean not a good situation.”

Each year people lose their lives and cars are totaled from those types of accidents.

ODOT also wants to remind people of their slogan, “Ice and snow, take it slow.”

The winter weather will turn rain to ice and then coat it with the white stuff which means roads could be treacherous for the morning commute, or any holiday travel.

If you’re flying, always check your flight status before heading out to the airport.

FirstEnergy was also preparing to handle outages.

“We are keeping a close eye on the weather and will be ready to respond immediately to assist our customers should sustained high winds cause any problems,” said Mark Julian, vice president of Utility Operations.

Customer call centers will be staffed. Customers who lose power should report their outage by calling 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) with a mobile device.

It’s also a good time to think of all of those common sense tips like being sure to fuel your vehicle, and check the windshield wiper fluid.

Stocking up on rock salt for your home is also a good idea.

Although the storm is supposed to be done by Saturday night in NE Ohio, the forecast sometimes changes by the hour or even minute.

“Well it’s another day in Cleveland.  I’d say one day it’s hot, one day it’s snowing,” said John Oliver of Lakewood.