Clark County survives first snow storm of year, prepares for next

Clark County residents are wiping their brows after making it through the first snow storm of the year, but they’re also looking ahead to what could be coming next.

Clark County Engineer Johnathan Burr said around 300 miles of county roads were plowed over the weekend without a major hitch. He credited the county’s preparedness to weather forecasts that accurately predicted the severity of the storm.

“The forecast was on. Everybody was ready to go. The trucks were ready,” he said.

Burr said he had about 10-12 people on a shift working 12 hours at a time. The crews were on staff during the entire weekend, and also came in at 4 a.m. on Monday in case there were refreeze issues.

» FIRST WINTER STORM: Hospitals see sledding, fall injuries

On Monday, the plow trucks were washed off and underwent routine maintenance.

“They’re cleaning those up. They’ll go back through and see if anything needs addressed, and that way they’re ready because we could have a surprise (storm) that no one even forecasts,” Burr said.

He said he looks at multiple forecasts to stay ahead of winter storms, including a system that could be headed to the area in a few days.

“I’ve seen freezing rain forecast, I’ve seen a couple inches of snow forecast. I still gotta have the trucks ready,” he said.

In the city of Springfield, crews also started working on Friday to get ahead of the impending storm by readying trucks and equipment.

Springfield City Service Director Chris Moore said more than 20 plow trucks were in operation at the peak of the clean up. The Service Department prioritizes snow removal by clearing main streets first and then moving into neighborhood streets.

“It’s an important time of year to be ready and stay ready,” Moore said. “We remain committed to clearing our roadways during inclement weather for the safety and convenience of Springfield residents and motorists.”

On Monday, several residents and business owners were shoveling their own driveways and parking lots after the weekend’s weather dumped around six inches of snow in the area.

» RELATED: Record weekend snow doesn’t compare to Blizzard of 1978

But the winter storm also had a big effect on those who didn’t have a warm place to go home to.

The weather triggered Interfaith Hospitality Network to activate their overflow shelter just days before the storm hit. This allows Interfaith to increase the capacity to 50 people at each site.

Interfaith Executive Director Elaina Bradley said there are currently openings available at agency’s two sites — the family and single women’s shelter and the men’s shelter.

“We’re here everyday of the year, 24 hours a day to help those in need,” she said. “We encourage anyone that is faced with homelessness to access (Interfaith). We have beds available, and we have the staff available to meet them where they are so we can help them overcome their episode of homelessness.”

Bradley added that during overflow housing periods — food, cleaning supplies, laundry products and monetary donations to help with getting people IDs, birth certificates and shelter operations — are greatly appreciated.

All donations can be dropped off at 501 W. High Street or 440 W. High Street.

Meteorologists are tracking the potential for another winter storm that could hit the Miami Valley as soon as this weekend.

“The energy for the upcoming storm system is still out in the Pacific Ocean, more than 3,000 miles away from us,” Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini said. “Once the energy moves into the United States and develops, we will be able to start putting the pieces of the puzzle together.”

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