Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
Scioto County Engineer Craig Opperman said the weekend weather has already dropped more snow on the county than all of last yea and more was on the way overnight Monday. The timing is dangerous, however, as motorists hit the roads Monday night after an evening of New Year’s celebration.
According to Opperman, three inches of snow fell during the entire winter of late 2011-early 2012 (with none at all in November or December 2011), and 3.75 inches was reported over the weekend to bring the winter 2012-13 total so far to four inches. The forecast predicted more snow overnight Monday and into Tuesday.
“Our radar is showing a little over an inch somewhere — an inch-and-a-half maybe,” Opperman said.
He said the weekend snow fall was wet and heavy, causing brief power outages, closing roads and downing about 10 trees in the county. Local road crews were out Saturday and Sunday clearing the roads. Opperman explained that there are four county supervisors who each survey parts of the county and report areas that need clearing. He said the entire weekend event cost the county about $17,000 to respond.
Because last winter produced so little snowfall the county still has much of its salt supply from last year, plus what was ordered this year.
“We’ve got enough salt, so we’re not concerned about not having enough. We’re pretty much stocked up right now,” Opperman said. “We haven’t taken any from the order yet that we’ve made this season.”
Opperman said county road crews were keeping an extra-watchful eye on the radar Monday evening, knowing that New Year’s Eve would mean more motorists on the road during late-hours after an evening of compotation. Kim Carver, of the Scioto County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), said the New Year’s Eve forecast called for a mix of rain and snow that could create slick spots on the road.
Lt. Karla Taulbee of the Ohio State Highway Patrol in Lucasville said extra units would be on patrol, watching for impaired motorists and looking for stranded motorists. With the weather complicating the holiday, she advised it’s really best for people just to stay home.
“A lot of people hopefully will realize with ice coming, and the sleet, they’ll just stay home and not be out driving around. Because we do have ice out and the roads are hazardous, it’s best just to stay home if you don’t need to be out. But if you do need to go out, just be vigilant and watch out of the other drivers,” Taulbee said.
Carver said the last weeks of December brought a change in weather patterns in southern Ohio. With 7.76 inches of precipitation, Opperman said December 2012 was the third wettest December in Scioto County history, dating back to 1850. The increased rain and precipitation brought an end to a late-summer drought.
“When winter officially came in, the season did officially change and I look for things to be a little more harsh through January,” Carver said. “I know that there is a significant rush of cold air that (the National Weather Service in) Wilmington is looking at moving into the forecast area that will bring our temperatures down more seasonable into the teens. Of course when you get any wind with that, the wind chill drops pretty quick to single-digit. I think we’re about to see Old Man Winter make a big return.”
While Carver does expect a snowy winter this year, she does not expect extreme weather.
“We did get a break last year, and I think we can expect things to be more seasonable around here,” she said.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org.