Snow staggers Valley

Residents who live on one of Marietta’s steepest hills remained snowed in nearly all day Monday before a plow cleared Spring Street-and they weren’t alone.

Several city streets were still covered in heavy snow throughout most of the business day, while outside Marietta, township and county crews also struggled with the heaviest snowfall in recent memory for the area.

Five to 10 inches fell throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley, depending on location.

Marietta streets superintendent Todd Stockel said the city plows couldn’t handle all the white stuff, causing for some delays in plowing despite crews being out.

“We’re bringing in tow trucks to help the trucks we have here that can’t do what they need to do,” Stockel said Monday afternoon.

He said because those tow trucks take several hours to arrive, the city had no choice but to hold off on some areas.

“We’re taking our time on most of the roads,” he said.

Spring Street resident Ada Mele said normally the city crews do a great job clearing the hill and the neighborhood.

“Last night (must have) caught them by surprise,” she said. “I think they just were not expecting it to get so bad. I know we weren’t.”

The forecast late Sunday called for two to four inches of snow, much less than what residents were shoveling by Monday morning.

“I’m not happy at all with how they’re piling the snow up,” said Debbie Brown, a resident on Sunset Lane off Colegate Drive, as she shoveled. Her car was surrounded in snow that had been plowed up off the street. “My husband is sick, and I’ve been trying to work at getting the car out.”

Sandi Nicholas, dispatcher for Ohio Valley Cab and Delivery, said when the weather gets bad, the calls pour in.

“We’re busy all the time, but when something like this happens, we know we’ll be slammed,” she said.

The taxi service, one of several just in Marietta, has been averaging 100 calls for cabs per day since the new year began. Monday afternoon, Nicholas said the 24/7 company had already gotten 81 calls when the day was only half over.

“They don’t want to drive their vehicles, and they think a cab can go where their car can’t,” Nicholas said. “I think it’s just that they feel safer having someone else drive.”

After initially declaring a Level 1 Snow Emergency at about 6 p.m. Sunday evening, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office upgraded the warning to a Level 2 several hours later, as the Mid-Ohio Valley caught the left tail end of Winter Storm Maximus, concentrated on the east coast.

The level two warning came with some regions reporting almost 10 inches of snow, as Sheriff Larry Mincks advised residents not go out driving unless absolutely necessary.

“The more people that stay off the highway, the easier it is for trucks to clear it,” Mincks said. “They can throw down more salt and cinder quicker if less people are driving.”

Mincks as well as the Ohio State Highway Patrol reported that although many calls had come in about cars sliding off roads, the slow speeds necessary to navigate the roads helped prevent any major accidents or injuries Monday.

“The (plows) waited a while for snow to go down, but they tried to keep main arteries clear as much as possible in the morning,” Mincks said. “Give the trucks some time, because we do have 640 square miles in the county to clear.”

The level 2 snow emergency also means that affected residents should contact employers and verify that is necessary that they still come to work.

“It’s been quite a few years since I’ve seen anything this bad,” said Decatur Township Trustee Terry Welch, who was also out helping plow efforts. “County trucks are hung up, and ours are too. Everybody was having a lot of trouble.”

Welch said Decatur Township measured 10 inches of snow in some areas.

In Barlow Township on Stone Quarry Road, Trustee John Hannan was out working on a dump truck, attempting to help clear the roughly nine inches that had fallen over the past 24 hours.

“We haven’t seen much traffic out here today,” he said. “The state road and county roads are getting better, but our gravel roads are tough because of the mush because of the rain and weather yesterday.”

Come the weekend, however, the weather service shows another winter storm system coming in that could bring more heavy snow Saturday into Sunday, but for now it’s too soon to tell.

As of Monday, the area was forecast to miss an East Coast winter storm mid-week and may instead get rain. The National Weather Service issued a flood watch from 8 p.m. today until noon Wednesday, as runoff and rain is expected to create some flooding in creeks and other waterways.

Rumpke trash pickup was canceled for Monday, setting back all trash pickup for the week, and local schools were closed, adding to the growing amount of excessive calamity days already used for the extreme temperatures Ohio experienced throughout January.

In Vienna, W.Va. the Grand Central Mall also closed for the day Monday.