Snow belt digs out from first major snow of season

ASHTABULA, Ohio-- Lake Effect squalls left a half a foot of snow in some areas of the snow belt by Saturday afternoon.

The snow left highways like Interstate 90 slick and side streets in Ashtabula snow covered and slushy. Slick roads lead to several cars sliding into ditches, including a truck hauling a boat that slid off the highway near Concord Township.

Ashtabula resident Rick Carlo just cut his grass Thursday in nice weather. He traded in his shovel and splurged for a heavy duty snow plow to clear his large driveway.

"This is ugly for this time of year. We weren't ready for this at all. I woke up and looked out and this much snow is too early in the season," Carlo said.

"I'm shoveling my driveway because I have to go to the store Monday," said Ashtabula resident Debbie Watts.

Watts likes digging out of the snow the old school way. She cleared her driveway with her reliable shovel. Watts said being outside year round keeps her young.

"I love the winter. I'm a winter person. I grew up in South Dakota. They get strong winters and I just love it. It's my favorite time of the year," Watts said.

With a winter storm warning in affect for Ashtabula County for much of Saturday, ODOT brought in extra crews to work overtime to do battle with Mother Nature in the snow belt.

ODOT has 50 plows and salt trucks on the roads in Lake, Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties. There are many more crews in Ashtabula County.

Even though this first major snowfall is a bit early, ODOT said they were prepared and ready to roll.

"A lot of people don't realize ODOT starts preparing for winter in October. We start inspecting all of our trucks. We're filled up on salt. Things are ready to go. The staff is ready. We take the trucks out for test runs. All of our equipment is prepared when the first flakes start to fly," said ODOT's Marissa McDaid.

Carlo can't help, but wonder if this winter wonderland is a sign of things to come?

"It's only November 10th. We could be in for a long winter," Carlo said.