Area's first winter storm of the season defies hype

Weather system dumps about 5 inches on city; City Hall, Rec Center, library close early

by Holly Schoenstein | reporter Published:

Tallmadge -- The winter's first major snowstorm last week didn't live up to forecasters' expectations, but it wasn't going to be ignored.

The weather system that was preceded by local winter storm and blizzard warnings was supposed to dump anywhere from 6 to 12 inches of snow in the area, with heavy snow fall starting mid-day Dec. 26, according to weather reports. Instead the storm turned out not to be as fierce, leaving only about 5 inches in Tallmadge.

"I don't think it got near as bad as [the forecasters] said it was going to get," Mayor Dave Kline said. "I think our street department did an excellent job trying to stay up on top of it. We did have quite a few [snowplows] out for the entire event, and they're still out today [Dec. 27]."

Kline said light snow began to fall around 9:30 a.m., and by noon the snow had covered everywhere. The most severe part of the storm took place between 1 and 3 p.m. Snow showers continued off and on throughout the duration of the storm.

"It seemed to be changing back and forth from sleet to snow," Kline said. "I was out driving, checking out a few things, and rain pellets were hitting my car. The little bit of sleet kept the snow packed down a little bit, but that makes the roads more slippery."

The storm that narrowly missed Christmas prompted facilities around the city, including City Hall, the Tallmadge Recreation Center and the Tallmadge Branch Library to close early. City Hall officially closed at 2 p.m., the library at 3 p.m. and the rec center at 6 p.m. Programming throughout the day at the rec center, including soccer leagues and fitness classes and yoga classes at the Community Center, was canceled.

Kline said the city's facilities closed early so employees, residents and patrons could get home safely, and the city's snowplowing crews could shift their attention from the parking lots of the facilities to the roads.

Minor fender benders kept the police department busy, but no major accidents or incidents were reported.

In accordance with the city's snowplowing policy for the last 10 years, Kline said crews worked around the clock and first cleared and salted the main roadways, such as the Circle and the roads that extend from it, those that feed into and out of the roundabout, and hills and bridges over expressways.

Once the main roads were addressed, crews focused on the secondary roads, such as Eastwood Avenue and Newton Street.

"We salt early on, and as the snow gets heavier, we only do the dangerous spots," Kline said, referring to intersections and hills, so that the salt was effective and not wasted.

Residential streets are the last to be plowed and aren't salted.

The crews clocked a total of 48 hours of overtime, which equates to about $3,000, Kline said.

The crews used nearly 400 tons of salt, which cost about $14,000, during the storm. After deliveries to replenish the supply, the dome that holds 1,400 tons is about three-quarters full, he said.

The city's service workers were out Dec. 27 clearing snow from miscellaneous areas, including the city's parks and sidewalks around the circle.

Email: hschoenstein@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9428

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