CLEVELAND (WJW) — Ahead of a winter storm expected to freeze roads early Friday and bring several inches of snowfall through the weekend, city and Hopkins airport officials on Wednesday shared plans to keep road and air travel safe.

Rain is expected to turn to snow as temperatures swiftly drop below freezing early Friday morning, said Randy Scott, city streets commissioner.

Crews will be working “around the clock” to keep ice from bonding to the roads, said city Director of Public Works Frank Williams.

Crews will be out pre-treating main and secondary roads, starting “in earnest” at 11 p.m. Thursday, “to start the melting and brine creation process,” Scott said.

“From that point, we should be able to keep up with it with regular rock salt.”

Since rock salt loses its effectiveness when temperatures drop to about 19 degrees, city workers will also use a chemical additive, Scott said.

“After the storm has ended, we’ll finish up the [main roads], get them in passable condition, then quickly move into residential areas,” Scott said.

The city has about 22,000 tons of salt and 23,000 gallons of de-icing liquid on-hand, Williams said. Road crew staffing is “in good shape,” but the department is still taking applications to fill a few vacancies, he said.

The department will be staffed 24 hours a day through the storm, and will have an average of 45 units on the roads, and more can be called out as things get worse, he said.

“Once we experience snow that’s 4 to 6 inches, we go into tandem plowing,” Scott said. “We pair two trucks together and open up the street from curb to curb. Plowing is always being done and salting is always being done simultaneously.”

Though some roads might not look like they’re in great shape, they’ll be passable, Williams said.

Residents are encouraged to park off the streets when possible so that road crews have space to move.

Winter weather safety tips

Cleveland Fire Department Lt. Mike Norman said Wednesday that wind-driven fires are a concern this time of year. Wind gusts of up to 60 mph are expected on Friday and Saturday.

Norman reminded residents not to crowd space heaters, and to always plug them into grounded outlets — and never into extension cords, which is a common cause of fires.

Be wary of carbon monoxide gases that can vent from all combustion heating sources like gas furnaces, wood-burning fireplaces or water tanks, he said. if using a wood-burning fireplace, make sure flues are open, he said.

Norman also reminded residents to pace themselves when clearing snow, as the strain can trigger a heart attack. Take breaks every so often and “just be careful out there,” he said.

Get more weather safety tips below:

When traveling at Hopkins airport

About 415,000 air travelers are expected to pass through the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport this holiday travel season, said airport spokesperson John Goersmeyer.

Flight delays and cancellations are expected. Flyers are encouraged to get to the airport early — at least two hours before their flight — use the airport website to keep tabs on scheduled flights and prepare to find overnight lodging, if necessary.

Snow removal crews will be working “around the clock” to clear runways for landing planes, but the airport may have to shut down “if it gets to be too much,” Goersmeyer said. Blowing snow is expected to make Saturday and Sunday “the most difficult time” for air travel, he said.

The airport’s peak hours are in the early morning, from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m., the early afternoon from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the late afternoon to early evening, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

“Have a contingency plan, if need be. Think about looking at hotels around the area to have rooms to stay the night,” Goersmeyer said.

“We are going to expect some rough times as far as air travel,” he added. “It’s really important to pack your patience and make sure you plan accordingly.”

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What to expect from the winter storm

A winter storm watch takes effect at 10 p.m. Thursday in several Northeast Ohio counties. It’s expected to last through Saturday evening, bringing heavy snowfall, strong winds and a flash freeze making a dangerous Friday morning commute.

Snow is expected to start Friday and continue through Saturday. About 2 to 4 inches of accumulation is expected in areas away from Lake Erie, with the highest snow totals of more than four inches along the snow belt, according to the National Weather Service.

The weekend will see more lake effect snow.

Wind gusts could get up to 60 mph. Friday will be the worst day for travel, according to FOX 8 meteorologists. The morning commute is expected to be icy, with blowing snow decreasing visibility.

Wind chill temperatures could get as low as 30 degrees below zero on Friday and as low as 20 degrees below zero on Saturday night. Temperatures are expected to be in the single digits for nearly 48 hours this weekend. Exposed skin cold become frostbitten in 30 minutes, according to NWS.

Where to get warm

City recreation centers will have extended hours to serve as warming centers for residents seeking shelter from the storm.

The city is not offering transportation to the shelters, officials said Wednesday. Those who need assistance can call the city’s helpline by dialing 311.

Here are the warming centers’ hours and locations:

Friday, Dec. 23, from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.:

Zelma George Neighborhood Resource & Recreation Center, 3155 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive

Collinwood Neighborhood Resource & Recreation Center, 16300 Lakeshore Blvd.

Michael Zone Neighborhood Resource & Recreation Center, 6301 Lorain Ave.

Sterling Neighborhood Resource & Recreation Center, 1380 E. 32nd St.

Saturday, Dec. 24, from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.:

Zelma George Neighborhood Resource & Recreation Center, 3155 Martin Luther King Drive

Collinwood Neighborhood Resource & Recreation Center, 16300 Lakeshore Blvd.

Michael Zone Neighborhood Resource & Recreation Center, 6301 Lorain Ave.

Sterling Neighborhood Resource & Recreation Center, 1380 E. 32nd St.

Sunday, Dec. 25, from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.:

Zelma George Neighborhood Resource & Recreation Center, 3155 Martin Luther King Drive

Michael Zone Neighborhood Resource & Recreation Center, 6301 Lorain Ave.

Monday, Dec. 26, from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Zelma George Neighborhood Resource & Recreation Center, 3155 Martin Luther King Drive

Michael Zone Neighborhood Resource & Recreation Center, 6301 Lorain Ave.