Rain, snow, freezing temps keep road crews busy

Megan Kennedy

January 9, 2014

Recent snowfall and sub-zero temperatures in Preble County has caused the level of concern to rise when it comes to the remaining resources available to keep the roads safe and area schools open.

Even though weather conditions worsened Sunday night into Monday morning, Preble County Engineer Kyle Cross said there is enough salt to get the county through the snow.

While the amount of snowfall wasn’t as great as anticipated, Sheriff Michael Simpson issued a Level 1 Snow Advisory on Monday, Jan. 6. A level 1 Snow Advisory means roadways are covered and hazardous. Motorists were urged to drive very cautiously.

Further explanations of snow advisories are located on Preble County Sheriff’s website.

“We do have the resources to get us through it. Unfortunately the temperatures are going to be so low, that it’s going to essentially render salt ineffective,” Cross said.

Assuring that the county is prepared, Cross believes that through the month of December, the county used roughly 900 tons of salt to prepare for weather conditions.

Other resources such as cat litter can be used as an alternative to salt, however the substance can mix with the snow, creating a sand-like substance, posing a hazard for drivers. An additional issue that could surface is the substance could become embedded into the ice itself, rendering it useless.

In terms of the use of county resources, Cross explained, “We have to be a little bit more protective,” and that the use of salt should be focused on areas where accidents are more prevalent. Cross described these areas as “hills, curves, and intersections.”

“What’s more troubling than the amount of snow we’re looking at this weekend, is the wind that’s potentially going to follow it,” Cross said on Friday, Jan. 3. He explained, with the winds reaching the 20 mph range, drifting becomes a concern.

Rain swept through Preble County Sunday, after crews had already laid salt that afternoon, turning it to slush. Wind and unstable road conditions heightened the concern for drifting.

Crews laid another round of salt at approximately 2 a.m Monday morning, when the roads were covered with snow, however there were isolated patches of ice, as any amount of standing water froze.