Buckeye Chuck says early spring

February 2, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

Sometimes the weather upstages the groundhogs.

“Despite Punxsutawney Phil’s predictions for an early Spring, we still have six more weeks of winter, and today’s snow storm reminds us of that,” Kathleen Fuller, Public Information Officer for District 9 of the Ohio Department of Transportation said, as she looked out on Saturday morning.

Ohio’s prognosticating groundhog, Buckeye Chuck, was in complete agreement with the world famous Punxatawney Phil. He too says spring will come early to the state. Just as Phil had done, Chuck stuck his head out in Marion, Ohio and he did not see his shadow, meaning an early spring.

That prediction, thankfully, did not change the way District 9 of ODOT responded to Saturday’s snow.

Fuller said all available crews from the Ohio Department of Transportation - District 9 were back out working Saturday to combat snow and ice. Around 11:30 a.m. Saturday morning routes were mostly snow covered in Adams, Brown, Highland and Ross counties where crews have been treating and plowing roads since approximately 6 a.m. and snow continued to fall.

Pavement conditions in Pike, Jackson, Scioto and Lawrence counties varied from wet and slick to lightly or partly snow covered as those counties had received less accumulation at that time. However, conditions changed for the worse as the storm system progressed through the area.

Fuller warned those traveling the roads in the region that ODOT crews were working to clear the state highway system, but reminded all motorists to do their part and drive with additional caution during inclement weather.

“Along with being prepared and knowing the forecast, drivers need to stay alert, allow additional travel time and maintain a safe following distance, remembering to reduce their speed as conditions can change from minute to minute and mile to mile,” Fuller said.

No one was available at the Scioto County Garage, but the Engineer’s answering service said the crews were out clearing the roadways.

Meanwhile, Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini, Pike County Sheriff Richard N. Henderson and Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless called for a Level 1 Snow Emergency, which meant that roadways were hazardous with blowing and drifting snow, as well as icy in some spots. Donini said at the time that ice was beginning to form on bridges and overpasses, calling for a need to drive with extreme caution.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com