CLEVELAND -- As the first major snowstorm of the season is making its way to northeast Ohio, officials are making preparations.
At 3:30 p.m. Friday Cleveland city officials held a press conference to discuss their winter weather plan for this weekend.
Officials said the city will be primarily focusing on plowing the main roads to make sure they are passable. They will continue plowing until the snow seems to subside.
“We encourage that, if you don’t have to be out driving tomorrow, please don’t be on the road,” said Darnell Brown, Chief Operating Officer for the city of Cleveland.
A snow parking ban will be evoked once the snow reaches 2 inches and will remain in effect until city officials determine it is safe to lift. The city says plowing residential streets is much easier to plow without parked vehicles on the road and officials having to navigate through heavy traffic.
The city said they will begin servicing residential roads once the main roads are considered passable. However, once snow accumulations “picks up” workers will return to servicing the main roads.
All residential streets should be completely serviced within 48 hours of the storm’s end, but officials believe these roads will be serviced prior to then.
City employees will be working 24 hours a day to maintain safe roads. Cleveland also has 15,000 tons of salt on hand and is accepting additional shipments Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Cleveland police said their priority this weekend is “safety first.” The majority of officers will be concentrated on freeway safety so that officers can assist individuals to safety and control traffic efficiently during emergencies. They strive to keep citizens safe and clear freeway accidents quickly.
Police will also be assisting with enforcement of snow parking bans and clearing the streets so that plows can get through.
Meanwhile, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport officials and staff are at the “fullest and highest level of preparedness” to ensure safe travel.
Hopkins officials said the airport’s main priority is safety. They are prepared with over 300 tons of salt and sand on hand, as well as 60,000 gallons of chemicals specified for winter weather situations. The airport ensures travelers that they have and will continue to meet the federal requirements for handling snow.
Airport officials also advise travelers and those picking or dropping up travelers to check with your airline for flight times, delays and cancellations.
Snow is expected to begin late morning Saturday and last at least 15 hours. A winter storm warning has also been issued for multiple counties across northeast Ohio. It is in effect from midnight Saturday to Monday morning.