Snow pounds valley

PUNXSUTAWNEY Phil’s prediction of an early spring can’t come any too soon for Eastern Ohio residents faced with snow and freezing rain as well as resulting cancellations and vehicles sliding off roadways.

As Chris Wood, manager of the Ohio Department of Transportation garage in Harrison County, noted this morning, “Mother Nature is always subject to change.”

With the weather conditions involving jumps and declines in thermometers, it’s obvious that Wood is correct.

As of 7:30 a.m. today, Belmont County remained on a Level 2 Snow Emergency Level which means that “roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Only those who feel it is necessary to drive should be out on the roadways, Contact your employer to see if you should report to work.”

Many schools in the Ohio Valley area also canceled classes for the day.

When the snow started to fall Monday afternoon, highway crews were ready as they began spreading salt and grit. A spokesperson at the Ohio Department of Transportation in Morristown, said crews were on the roads all afternoon, throughout the evening and night and early this morning, The spokesperson urged motorists to drive slow and be careful.

The Belmont County Engineering Department also had its trucks on the road early Monday. A spokespeson at the Roscoe Road garage said the afternoon crew stayed over, and the day shift came out at 4:30 a.m. He said the roads were slushy in spots and advised motorists to drive with caution.

City, village and township crews were also on the roads trying to keep ahead of the snow.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol in St. Clairsville reported there was one accident on Interstate 70 in Wheeling Township. It happened shortly before 3 p.m. and involved one vehicle with no injuries reported. The patrol also received numerous reports of disabled vehicles.

Also on a Level 2 Snow Emergency early today was Jefferson County where the sheriff’s office reported accidents had occurred because of weather conditions.

A spokesperson at the DOT garage in Jefferson County reported, “Everything’s turning out pretty good.” He added that both lanes of U.S. 22 and Ohio 7 in the Steubenville area were “pretty clear.”

As to the southern end of the county, the spokesperson added, “Everything’s been treated so it should be in good shape.”

In Harrison County, Wood said that highways were clear and wet. He added the alert about a freezing drizzle was received about midnight.

Wood added that Harrison County is fortunate, there is “a good crew. Each person has an individual route and individual pride in keeping them (the highways) clear and wet and safe for the public. It works out well.”

In Monroe County, crews have been working on highways since the snow began Monday around 2 p.m.

Work is being done around the clock, and “they’re still plowing and treating,” according to Terrill Wickham, clerk at the ODOT garage in Monroe County.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office reported accidents have occurred because of weather conditions with vehicles sliding off the road, especially when going around turns.

Wickham advised drivers to be extra careful.