Anna Merriman, Evan Goodenow and Steve Fogarty
City officials around Lorain County prepared Tuesday for heavy snow.
“We’re expecting a big storm,” Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer said.
Between 6 to 10 inches of snowfall overnight and today were predicted by the National Weather Service, with winds between 15 and 25 mph this morning. The snow, which began around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, was expected to continue until about 5 p.m. today.
No major crashes had been reported by 11 p.m. Tuesday, according to local police and the Ohio Highway Patrol.
At 9 p.m. Tuesday, the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office issued a level 2 snow emergency, which is still in effect this morning. A level 2 snow emergency means that roadways are extremely hazardous. Only those who feel it necessary to travel should be on the roadways. Employees should comply with workplace policies or contact their employer.
Elyria, Lorain and North Ridgeville prepared ahead of the storm by buying extra salt and equipment, while smaller towns had few choices but to wait and watch.
“All of our equipment is ready,” Amherst Mayor David Taylor said Tuesday.
Vermilion Mayor Eileen Bulan said the Street Department would begin plowing about 7 p.m. Tuesday if the storm hit as hard as predicted. “Sometimes it doesn’t happen like you think,” she said.
Elyria Safety Service Director Mary Siwierka said Elyria should be fine after receiving 80 tons of salt Monday. She expected an additional 10 to 15 truckloads of salt Tuesday.
Siwierka asked motorists to keep their vehicles off the road and in driveways to improve plowing.
Lorain received about 1,100 tons of salt Monday, increasing its supply to about 1,700 tons, Ritenauer said. Ritenauer told City Council members Monday that the supply should get Lorain through this storm and future storms, but a contingency plan has been developed if Lorain can’t get salt from Cargill, its supplier.
A Lorain vendor has offered to supply salt finer than typical road salt. It would be mixed with the existing supply.
“It would extend us out if we have to do that,” Ritenauer said.
Ritenauer said Tuesday that Lorain recently ordered extra plow blades to replace the city’s current blades. Road crews were sent out Tuesday night to “pre-salt” roads, and a snow ban took effect. Despite the preparation, Ritenauer said he hopes people will still be careful and leave for work earlier today.
North Ridgeville Mayor David Gillock said the city should have enough salt for today, “but I don’t know what we’re going to do after that.”
North Ridgeville reserved 3,500 tons of rock salt in May from its suppliers in anticipation of the winter. Gillock said the city has the option of buying up to 120 percent of the salt it reserves. North Ridgeville has surpassed the 120 percent ceiling due to the severe winter and has 870 tons of salt left.