Snow, snow and more snow Saturday

Everywhere you went Saturday, there was snow and lots of it making visibility almost impossible for drivers in some places, like in Cleveland Heights where a squall hit after about a full hour of sunshine.

Residents in Cleveland Heights used that break of sun to clear their driveways and sidewalks once more.  Juan McCall just got home from work, tired, but was still pushing the shovel early Saturday afternoon, “I already shoveled at 5 o'clock this morning, came back it was all filled in again.”

“Go away! Never come back for a while,” McCall said, joking about how he is already tired of “Old Man Winter.”

“It's a lot of work,” said Matt Gerace, who was a little out of breath from shoveling to find his sidewalk so he could run through it with the snow blower. “I actually just brought a snow blower today because shoveling this driveway by hand is just too much,” he added. For Gerace, it’s about the 6th time shoveling his front property this winter.

But once both men cleared their driveways and sidewalks, in came that squall turning outside into white-out conditions again.  Poor visibility was across the board and snow blowing around quickly became a big issue for snow plows trying to clear the roadways.

That along with a consistent snowfall for most of the day had cities placing their parking bans into effect early.  Other areas issued higher Snow Emergency levels cautioning drivers to stay off the roadways if they didn’t absolutely need to be driving.

On the highways, spin-outs on I-480, I-71 and I-77 caused back-ups.  Even the Ohio Turnpike saw a pile-up. 

“It's been pretty cruel to us in the last week in a half ... you gotta be tough to live in this town,” said Angel Flores, a CMHA maintenance worker.  Flores was covered head-to-toe in snow trying to clear the sidewalks for tenants.  A little tired, Flores said it’s still too early to complain about this winter … after all, we still have a few months left.

“February will tell a story,” said Flores, “once February comes around, then we'll know.”

A City of Cleveland Spokesperson told NewsChannel5, eight road graders are assisting 46 snow plows in clearing Cleveland’s streets and that drivers are encouraged to stay off the roadways so crews can do their job. The Parking Ban, which went into effect at 2 p.m. Saturday, will remain in effect until further notice.

On its website, the Ohio Department of Transportation said this is one of the most active snow and ice fighting seasons on record for ODOT. To date, the department has used 620,643 tons of salt to keep motorists safe on Ohio roadways. Compare that to just 252,337 tons of salt used up to this same point last year and 370,450 tons of salt for the entire winter season just two years ago.

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