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The Suburbanite
  • Road crews battle 'first significant snowfall' this season

  • The area’s “first significant snowfall” total was five inches at the Akron-Canton Airport.

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  • As Wednesday went on, the snowstorm which entered the area lost some of its punch, and the snowfall count fell short of early predictions.
    As of late Wednesday afternoon, the snowfall total was five inches at the Akron-Canton Airport.
    “We down graded the winter-storm warning to a winter-storm advisory,” said John Mayers, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s regional bureau. “The bulk of the activity has shifted east with the low-pressure system.”
    The winter-storm advisory for Stark County was lifted at about 9:14 p.m. Wednesday.
    “All the snow has pretty much come to an end,” said meteorologist Kirk Lombardy, also of the National Weather Service bureau. “All the winds are dying down as well, so we are not expecting that to be an issue.”
    However, the storm’s presence certainly was felt earlier Wednesday.
    Flights were canceled at the local airport, police and paramedics responded to numerous weather-related crashes and municipalities issued parking bans.
    “We definitely had an increase in cars slipping off the road,” said Tim Warstler, director of Stark County Emergency Management Agency. “We had a higher call volume with 911.”
    Eric Rehfus, road maintenance superintendent for the Stark County Engineer’s Office, said all 23 trucks were out on the road with a total 5,500 tons of salt on hand.
    Snow was still falling at 1 p.m. and the sleet had started.
    “Everything’s going OK,” he said. “We’re just plowing them off, hitting the intersections with salt and the hills and the bridges.”
    County road crews planned to stay on the streets throughout the night.
    “It looks like we’ll be going until midnight with one crew and then another crew at midnight, Rehfus said.
    Then, he added, “We’re starting to get the freezing rain on top of the snow.”
    BEFORE THE FLURRIES FLEW
    The snow hadn’t begun in Green at 10 a.m. when the Akron Canton Airport’s website listed cancellations to and from Charlotte, Chicago, Fort Myers, New York, Boston, Orlando, Denver and Atlanta.
    Kristie Van Auken of the airport said more cancellations could be expected as the snowstorm begins to strike this area.
    Canton police, like many other police departments, also advised people not to travel unless it was “absolutely necessary,” said Chief Bruce Lawver.
    Township officials were also preparing to keep their highways clear for emergency vehicles and anyone else who felt it necessary to travel.
    Plain Township implemented its parking ban, telling motorists not to park on township-maintained roads so that plow trucks can clear them of snow. The ban began about 10:30 a.m. and was to be in effect until further notice, said Paul Birk, road maintenance supervisor.
    Page 2 of 3 - Contacted about 11 a.m., Weber said that his agency was continuing to monitor the weather situation and, should power outages begin to occur, the agency may contact the American Red Cross to begin the process of opening emergency shelters.
    While emergency officials were concerned about the snow, they also were wary of ice.
    “Our concern is certainly ice over snow,” he said. “From an emergency management standpoint, when we get a quarter-inch of ice coupled with some winds, that’s when the power lines start falling off the poles and the tree branches will begin to impact the power lines,” Weber said.
    At that point, he said, he had received no reports of great amounts of ice.
    THE FORECAST
    Sleet was in the forecast, but the precipitation was expected to turn entirely to snow.
    The National Weather Service, which issued a blizzard warning in western Ohio and counties lining Lake Erie, had issued a Winter Storm Warning for Stark and surrounding counties.
    The weather service was calling for “snow possibly mixed with freezing rain and sleet, becoming all snow after 2 p.m.,” according to its website. “The snow could be heavy at times.”
    Winds were expected to blow in out of the east from 18 to 23 mph with gusts reaching 33 mph, and a daytime snow accumulation of 4 to 8 inches, the website said. Another 2 to 4 inches was expected to fall overnight.
    Weber said his agency was continuing to watch the situation closely.
    His agency, which also handles 911 dispatching, was receiving a number of calls. But, he said, the number of 911 calls they were getting wasn’t uncommonly high for a snowstorm.
    Ohio Highway Patrol dispatchers were busy with numerous calls reporting cars and trucks sliding into one another and off of highways “all over the place.” A couple motorists were transported to area hospitals, a dispatcher said about 1 p.m., but details were not available.
    Repository staff writer Malcolm Hall contribued to this story.
    How to report a power outage
    • FirstEnergy customers — call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) or click the “Report Outage” link at www.firstenergycorp.com via a mobile device.
    • AEP — You can report an outage online at https://www.aepohio.com/outages/report/Default.aspx or call 1-800-672-2231.
    Be prepared for outages
    • Keep a flashlight and extra batteries handy. Never leave candles burning unattended.
    • Gather extra blankets or a sleeping bag for each person. Do not use gas stoves, kerosene heaters or other open-flame heat sources to prevent deadly carbon monoxide gas from building up in your home.
    • If you have a water well and pump, keep an emergency supply of bottled water and/or fill your bathtub with fresh water.
    Page 3 of 3 - • Stock an emergency supply of convenience foods that do not require cooking.
    • Keep a battery-powered radio with extra batteries on hand.
    • Have a hard-wired telephone or a charged cellphone handy for emergency use. If you have a smart phone, you may use it to access news and information online during power outages.
    Source: FirstEnergy
    Weather outlook
    Today should be cloudy with snow showers in the morning, changing to flurries by the afternoon. Winds are expected to northwesterly at 15 mph. The chance for precipitation is 40 percent and the temperature will drop to the upper teens.
    On Friday, the temperatures should rise to the low 30s. There is no chance for precipitation during the day, but there will be a 50 percent chance for light snowfall Friday night.