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Here's how ODOT is preparing for snow and ice this winter

Although winter doesn't officially arrive until Dec. 21, the average first snowfall date for Northeast Ohio is in early November.

CLEVELAND — Ready or not… Winter is coming.

Although Halloween is still two weeks away, the season for snow and ice is right around the corner – and the Ohio Department of Transportation is busy preparing for the wintry weather.

“We do a 150-point inspection of every single snow plow just to make sure all of them are up and running and ready for when the snow flies," says Isaac Hunt, a public information officer for ODOT.

3News was there Monday morning to witness that inspection operation in progress at ODOT's full-service maintenance facility on East 44th Street in Cleveland.

When it comes to salt supply, Hunt says it's "looking really good" with most of their salt domes filled. "Most of our salt domes have been filled. If you've seen some of our videos, we're pushing salt all the way up to the top of those domes we have. So everything's filled and we're ready to go."

We streamed live coverage of the snow plow preparations, which you can watch in the player below:

Once the snow starts falling, Hunt says the fleet that services District 12 in Lake, Geauga and Cuyahoga counties includes 75-90 plows depending on the accumulation. He also wants to remind drivers to give all snow plows plenty of room to do their job.

“We had 61 plows struck last year, which was a big increase from 42 in the years past," Hunt says. "It’s really important for motorists to pay attention to where they’re going and avoid the plow as best as possible.”

Meanwhile, the city of Cleveland plans to utilize new software that shows plow truck drivers which roadways need plowing -- and a scheduling system to allow them to respond to those areas as quickly as possible.

More trucks have been purchased by the city. Until those arrive, there is a backup plan. "We also have new trucks," says Cleveland City Councilman Kevin Bishop. "Four divisions will loan their vehicles for preparation. If we have a heavy snow, we can out fit their vehicles to do snow removal."

In addition to more trucks, Bishop says the city is working on getting the drivers to operate those plows. "We're ahead of scheduled on hiring new drivers. We're training the drivers starting this month."

For those of you keeping track, winter officially arrives on Wednesday, Dec. 21. While that is still more than two months away, the National Weather Service in Cleveland says the region’s first average snowfall date is in early November as listed below:

  • Akron-Canton: Nov. 9
  • Cleveland: Nov. 10
  • Mansfield: Nov. 15
  • Youngstown: Nov. 4

We’re currently tracking the potential for some snowflakes this week. Watch the hour-by-hour details HERE.

Editor's note: Video in the player above features the extended weather forecast with 3News' Hollie Strano from Oct. 17, 2022.


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