Snowflakes flying in Northeast Ohio, ODOT working throughout the night

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ASHTABULA,Ohio-- The flakes began flying early Friday evening in parts of the snow belt, as residents dusted off their little-used ice scrapers and shovels and prepared to dig out.

All day, road crews across Northeast Ohio were preparing for a dose of lake effect snow. Fox 8 caught up with a few ODOT crews in Cleveland as they spread brine along Interstate 90, prearing the highway to make it harder for the snow to stick when it starts falling.

"We have almost a thousand lane miles, we get more snow per lane mile than any other county in the state of Ohio," said Frank Howell, transportation manager for the Ashtabula County ODOT district.

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Further east in Ashtabula County, road crews are preparing for as much as six inches of snow, maybe more. ODOT officials say by early evening, they had already put down more than 45,000 gallons of salt brine and they have crews scheduled to work throughout the night. They say the lack of snow here in the snow belt this season has been a blessing.

"As far as snow and ice, we haven't been busy at all, but we're on two shifts now, so it's actually giving us the advantage of all the daylight hours to get all of our regular roadwork done, so it's an advantage in that way," Howell said.

Ashtabula residents who are accustomed to lots of snow say they're not complaining that they haven't seen much of the white stuff so far.

"I think it's nice for a change...we're in the snow belt, we can take a break."

"As long as we have snow for Christmas for a couple days right at Christmas that's fine, I don't want a repeat of last year," said one resident.

"It's not really snowy, cars ain't getting stuck in it, it's nice out," said another resident.

Ashtabula ODOT officials say they have some newer trucks that make plowing safer and more efficient. They want to remind drivers about important winter driving skills.

"Slow down, just use your head. When you get into those heavy snow bands, the visibility is gonna drop dramatically and it can change from one mile to the next," Howell said.