Weather stuck in shiver cycle

As a polar vortex pushed its way back into the area early Tuesday morning, the area was blanketed by around two inches of snow, making commutes dicey and closing area schools.

Though this isn’t the first taste of cold temperatures and snow the area has seen, it still made for slow moving.

According to Dispatcher Kevin Burns, the Marietta Police Department responded to two accidents Tuesday morning and afternoon, but neither were serious.

Similarly, Dispatcher Rodney Robinson said the Ohio State Highway Patrol responded to two crashes early Tuesday morning, but neither had injuries.

Marietta resident Kala Keller, 61, said the winter weather wasn’t generally an issue for her.

“We’re making do,” she said. “Our streets on the west side are pretty snowy. I don’t like driving in it if it’s icy, but the snow is OK. You do the best you can.”

Marietta Streets Superintendent Todd Stockel said the streets were being well treated.

“We’re working on getting things pushed back-it’s a wet snow,” he said Tuesday afternoon. “We’re getting (the roads) salted and sanded…Everything seems to be going pretty well.”

County Engineer Roger Wright said crews had been out working since the weekend’s minor snowfall.

“We’ve had some icy, slick spots and some call-ins,” he said. “We started early (Tuesday) morning, and we’ve been watching the weather.”

Wright said that though the weather is supposed to clear, treating the roads won’t stop.

“Our goal is to try to get the roads plowed and cleaned,” he said. “We’re concerned with the snow coming down and it getting cold. Hard-packed snow and ice is harder to remove. We’re working diligently to get as much snow removed as we can.”

Achieving that goal requires lots of salt and sand and Wright said the mixture is one-third salt and two-thirds sand and other gritty material.

Calvin Becker, highway superintendent for the Washington County Highway Department, said they used Tuesday afternoon to salt the roads and break up hard-packed snow.

“At this time, we’re trying to plow and salt as much as we can to get it plowed off of the road before the temperatures fall,” he said. “For the most part, I think we’re winning.”

Becker said the commute today would likely be similar to Tuesday’s slick situation but that treatment would continue for as long as needed.

After this round of winter weather passes, he said it would be time to look at restocking at some smaller outposts which may be running low on material.

“We’re not in any danger of running out,” Becker said. “We have 550 to 600 tons of raw salt, which we mix at a one-to-three ratio. Our big outposts have several tons already mixed. Smaller outlying posts go empty quicker. We’re not in a danger zone, but our job is to not let it get to that point and keep up with it.”

The Ohio Department of Transportation has also been keeping up with slick roads fairly well.

David Rose, ODOT public information officer, said this time, road crews were lucky.

“We were lucky enough to get ahead of Mother Nature this time,” Rose said. “We were ahead of the storm.”

Rose added that the roads should be pretty passable.

Joe Merchant, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Charleston, said that the possibility of snow continues today, but with little to no accumulation, and the frigid air would continue.

“We’re not expecting much of an impact at all,” he said, adding, “Once the snow winds down, it’s going to get really cold.”

In fact, the area isn’t forecast to see above freezing for the next five days or so.

Marietta residents Darrel and Nora Pugh didn’t see the big deal associated with winter weather.

“It’s just winter,” Nora said. “It’s probably the first good winter we’ve been having for several years.”

“It’s January in Ohio,” said Darrel.