Is it ‘the last hurrah’ for winter?

EASTERN Ohio residents and road crews are hopeful that the snowy conditions, which began around midnight and continued during the early morning hours, were “the last hurrah” for Old Man Winter.

It’s less than two weeks for the official arrival of spring, and many people tired of ice, snow and the sometimes dreary days of winter might appreciate a comment by Robin Williams – “Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party.'”

The road crews working to combat weather conditions during the night and school officials as well as parents tired of delays and cancellations undoubtedly are ready for spring.

Road crews were kept busy today in Belmont County as Mother Nature dumped some inclement weather on the Ohio Valley, causing area highways to be slippery in spots. Schools officials announced they were on a two-hour delay because of weather conditions. Later, some of the schools canceled classes for the day.

Belmont County was the only area county in a state of a Level 1 snow emergency this morning. That means that the “roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Roads may also be icy. Motorists are urged to drive very cautiously.”

Slick roads, some with slush, also resulted in warnings in some other counties for drivers to be cautious.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol in St. Clairsville responded to seven accidents during the early hours. A dispatcher said there were no injuries in any of the accidents which happened all over the county.

The Ohio Department of Transportation, Morristown, had crews on the road since midnight. A spokesperson said trucks were loaded with salt and grit which will be spread on the roads to combat icy conditions.

The Belmont County Engineering Department, Roscoe Road garage, said crews were called out at 4 a.m. A spokesperson urged motorists to drive carefully because some roads may be slippery in spots.

Dispatchers in Martins Ferry and St. Clairsville said there were no problems in either community because of weather conditions.

Jim Wells, transportation administrator for ODOT in Monroe County, said state roads in that county had some slush but will improve as the day progresses.

He said crews have been working since midnight, but highways still were a “little bit slick” in places so motorists are advised not to drive too fast.

Rick Hunsicker, manager of the ODOT garage in Jefferson County, said the state highways were wet but very passable.

In Jefferson County, the afternoon crew stayed until midnight, and then a fresh crew came out. Work is continuing to make sure everything is passable, Hunsicker said.

Jefferson County had two or three inches of snow from around midnight to 3 a.m., according to the ODOT manager.

In Harrison County, Chris Wood, manager of the ODOT garage, said the roads were clear and wet. Noting there had been no trouble and no accidents resulting from weather conditions, he said the temperature was not so low that there were problems.