First Snow Tests NE Ohio Drivers

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MENTOR, Ohio --  Northeast Ohio is finally on snow watch.

The first winter storm of the season blew into the area with gusting winds mixed with icy rain turning over to snow.

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In an instant, the gray, muddy landscape turned into a winter wonderland.

“I’m just happy it’s snowing,” said Ian Gliesman who was finishing up Christmas shopping in Mentor.

Temperatures plummeted below freezing throughout the day and everyone once again began talking about wind chills.

“It’s cold,” said Taylor Gliesman.

The brother and sister said they’d much rather have snow this time of year.  They had been waiting and hoping for a white Christmas.

Driving was difficult during the morning commute, and a number of drivers found themselves on the side of the road.

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The Ohio Department of Transportation was ready and has had the entire fleet of trucks and plows out salting and clearing the roads since early Friday morning.

“A storm like this, where it’s early in the season just around freezing, we use plain old salt.  That’s really effective in this type of weather,” said Jocelynn Clemings, an ODOT spokesperson.

The winter weather advisories and warnings predicted about 2-4 inches of snow with an additional six or more inches in the snowbelt creating challenging driving conditions.

“They’re very slick, very glassy at this point,” said Joe Pitrone, “and I’m sure it’s going to get worse.”

Joe was loading up on bags of sand to place in the back of his pick-up truck to prevent it from sliding off the road.

“I have rear wheel drive with torque.  I fishtail easily. I don’t want any accidents this year,” said Pitrone.

By nightfall, most main roads were passable, but the storm could last through Saturday.

ODOT says if drivers do their part by taking it easy and not crowding the plows or other vehicles, they’ll do their part and make sure the holidays are happy for travelers.

“We’ll be out on the roads with our trucks hitting the interstates making sure it’s safe for you to get from place to place.  And our more rural areas in Lake and Geauga we’ll have trucks on those routes as well, get where you need to go and get in last-minute shopping,” said Clemings.

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