“We have been out since the wee hours of the morning in Scioto County,” said Kathleen Fuller, public information officer for the Ohio Department of Transportation District 9 office at mid-morning Wednesday. “We did some pretreating prior to the snow with a brine solution, and once it got into high gear, we already had crews out spot-checking certain areas.”
Fuller said the snow began to come down between 5 and 6 a.m., and crews put down salt and other abrasives.
“We treated the roads, as well as put plows on the road to clear them,” she said. “North of Scioto County, in pockets of Highland and Ross counties, they got rain, and it quickly changed to snow when the temperatures dropped.”
Fuller said when it rains and then snows on top of it in southern Ohio, it causes what she termed “a sludgy, slushy mix.”
The snow and some icy conditions caused several school systems to shut down for the day.
“I don't know about Green or New Boston, but Washington-Nile, Northwest, Clay, Valley, the Scioto County Joint Vocational School, Minford and Bloom-Vernon all closed today,” said Washington-Nile Schools Superintendent Pat Ciraso.
Portsmouth City, New Boston and Notre Dame schools all remained open, while Green Local Schools were closed because of a major waterline break.
“Between 2:30 and 3 this morning, there was a major waterline break in the area going out of New Boston at Millbrook (Park),” said Rick Bates, supervisor of distribution with the city of Portsmouth. “Our crews have been working all day between the Marathon station and Clayport, and all water service is out from the break east.”
Bates said he was hoping service would be restored by late Wednesday afternoon, and didn't know what caused the break.
“Nobody knows what causes them,” he said.
Scherer's Hollow was closed at about 8:45 p.m., dispatchers reported. Officials were unable to say when the road would be reopened to traffic.
Minor accidents and snarled traffic greeted motorists all around the area when they headed for work and school.
“The first snow is a relearning time for us,” said Kim Carver, director of the Scioto County Emergency Management Agency. “It is a reminder to start watching the forecast more closely and allowing a little more time to get where we have to go.”
Fuller said if the snow let up by Wednesday afternoon, crews would get the roads cleaned up.
“If it continues though, we will be out there clearing the roads,” she said. “As always, motorists must exercise additional caution when traveling today, and we're asking motorists to reduce their speed and allow additional travel time.”