By Frank Lewis
Area residents awoke Monday morning to 7 to 10 inches of snow, icy conditions caused by an earlier layer of sleet, and the need to scrape windshields, just to get onto the roadways. The National Weather Service allowed the winter storm warning to expire at 10 a.m. while at the same time casting a wary eye on a front that is already coming behind the one experienced Sunday night into Monday morning.
“The next thing on the radar will be another dynamic winter storm, which will move into the Ohio Valley on Tuesday,” Scioto County Emergency Management Agency Director Kim Carver said. “The National Weather Service is watching that one and it looks like we could have a lot of rain with this one, and maybe a period of some freezing rain in the overnight (Tuesday into Wednesday). But it’s not going to be a snowmaker like this system was. It could be freezing rain, but it looks like the predominant precipitation feature for us is going to be rain. But they’re still watching the track because with this one there’s a sharp cutoff from heavy snow to light snow with this one and where the freezing rain band was, that’s going to be the same situation with that storm. The track is everything. A few miles makes a difference as far as the precipitation type one way or the other.”
Carver said the largest amount of snow that will be rolling into the area will be well north of the Scioto County area, with rain dominating the precipitation along the river.
“We’re really concerned with this one because, from what I’m hearing in the forecast, it has the potential for ice,” Kathleen Fuller, Public Information Officer for District 9 of the Ohio Department of Transportation said. “For us, we’d rather see snow than ice anytime. So it kind of depends on how this one comes in and that temperature where we may end up. We may get more ice. We may get just some rain and a little bit of ice. It all depends on how it ends up. So we will watch that forecast closely.”
Carver, like Fuller, is waiting to see what form the storm takes.
“Again, if that storm track changes, so does the precipitation type,” Carver said. “So they’re watching it closely. They’ve been modeling that for a week. That’s the big storm everyone was talking about last week on the social media circuit.”
Carver said some of the higher elevations of West Portsmouth received around 10 inches, while 7 to 9 inches were measured along the Ohio River. Lesser amounts of snow were experienced the farther north you went. Those areas, Pike County, Ross County, etc. were under an advisory, while Scioto County was under a warning.
“There have been numerous accidents because of the slick roadways this morning, keeping law enforcement, fire and EMS busy, but nothing extraordinary that I’m aware of,” Carver said Mid morning on Monday morning as the snowfall began to diminish. “We have been watching for the potential for power outages in the overnight hours, as it is a very heavy snow.”
Carver said in the early morning hours Monday, crews were having a hard time staying ahead of the accumulation, resulting in the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office issuing a Level 2 snow emergency which remained in effect until late in the afternoon.
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet highway crews continued to clean up after the latest round of winter weather moved across the Commonwealth on Monday morning. Crews were rolling across a wide swath of the state. In most areas, crews were treating roadways. District 9 crews were treating and plowing in Greenup, Lewis, Boyd, Bath, Carter, Elliott, Fleming, Mason, Nicholas and Rowan counties.
The cabinet reminded motorists to exercise greater caution when driving; be prepared for slick conditions; give wide berth to snow plows and other heavy highway equipment and eliminate distractions while behind the wheel. Condition reports on major routes are available by calling 511 or by logging onto the 511 traffic and travel information website, 511.ky.gov. The cabinet’s SAFE Patrol is available to assist motorists whose vehicles become disabled on Kentucky interstates and parkways. For SAFE Patrol assistance, you can call 511 or toll-free at 1-877-FOR-KYTC (1-877-367-5982).
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.