Cuyahoga County prepares for December 26, 2012 snowstorm

WATCH news conference below

CLEVELAND - At a news conference Wednesday, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald said county offices would close at 1:30 p.m. to allow workers safe travel home in the snowstorm.

But if you have a date in court, you will want to call and see if your hearing has been canceled. Courts determine their own schedule, FitzGerald said.

Officials encourage people in the targeted blizzard and snow warning areas to stay home and off the roads.

Cuyahoga County is ready with supplies for the snow forecast, and they're able to assist neighboring communities should they run out of salt or other necessary supplies to try and keep the community safe.

In Cleveland, 48 trucks and 12 road graders are ready to takeoff. Crews have been out pre-treating the Shoreway and downtown bridges.

Between 48 and 52 drivers are on-duty around the clock for the next 24 hours with a number of auxiliary crews on standby should the snowfall exceed 8-10 inches.

Depending on the conditions, some of the crews working on the main thoroughfares may transition to residential streets to plow. The Division of Streets currently has approximately 18,000 tons of salt on-hand with another 2,500 tons in transit.

The city is requesting that employers execute an early dismissal of their employees today to help alleviate late day gridlock.

City of Cleveland non-essential personnel will be dismissed by their supervisors today at 2:30 p.m. Businesses were asked to dismiss employees beginning at 1 p.m. and federal, state and county employers were asked to dismiss at 2:30 p.m.

ODOT crews in Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties are working 12-hour shifts and have 80 crews on the roads. ODOT is working round-the-clock through the duration of the snowstorm. 

With the snowfall accumulating at a rate of about an inch or two an hour, with wind gusts around 35 mph, blowing and drifting of snow will make for a nasty drive for those who have to be out in the mess.

ODOT advises to take it slow in ice and snow and if you have to travel:

- Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination
- Know your limits. Safe drivers know the weather and their limits.
- Don't Crowd the Plow: Give snowplows room to work. Don't tailgate or try to pass. Snowplows travel well below the posted speed limit.

You can get the latest weather information by downloading our Storm Shield app, a weather radio for your smartphone: http://www.newsnet5.com/subindex/about_us/mobile

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