WILMINGTON — Despite Clinton County being in the midst of early winter’s deep freeze, the roadways are holding up well thanks to the combination of salt mixed with chemicals — and the public’s cooperation.
Jerry Runk, superintendent of the Wilmington Maintenance and Repair Department, said the city’s road salt was very effective on city streets until the cold blast came in late in December.
“Now we have to add different chemicals to get the salt to work, but the salt supply is holding up well,” said Runk. “The streets are in pretty good shape. We still have some slick spots we need to take care of.”
Runk praised the public for their cooperation during the days of snow and/or cold.
“The public’s really accommodating; I’ll give them a shout-out. That helps us a lot and we appreciate it,” he said of the city’s trucks being able to get through to treat and plow the roads with very few instances of being held up by cars illegally parked.
“We can get through, though we do have some narrow streets,” he said. “During snow emergencies — more than 2 inches — don’t park on the streets.”
Clinton County Engineer Jeff Linkous said the county currently has a good supply of salt.
He said their salt is treated with Aqua Salina, a liquid brine de-icer, which helps melt down to lower temperatures, but “below zero there’s not much we can do.”
“I think we have the roads cleared; hopefully we don’t get hit hard again too soon, but we’re prepared if we do,” said Linkous.
How cold is it?
The end of the holiday season and the beginning of 2018 were marked by frigid weather in Ohio and much of the country, with record-low temperatures sweeping across the U.S.
In southern Ohio, the first day of the cold snap was Christmas, according to meteorologist Jim Lott of the National Weather Service office in Wilmington.
“We’ve pretty much been below freezing since then,” Lott said.
The temperature at the Wilmington office on Tuesday morning was 11 degrees Fahrenheit, Lott said, which was “the coldest we’ve been through this stretch.”
Wind chills around the region registered anywhere from minus 10 degrees to minus 25 in some areas, Lott said.
Monday night “shattered some records” in urban areas where records have been kept, according to Lott.
In Dayton, thermometers registered minus 13 degrees, breaking the city’s record low of minus 5 degrees. In Cincinnati, temperatures dipped to minus 7 degrees, breaking a record low of minus 3 degrees.
Local temperatures will remain mostly in single digits until we get a break Sunday, according to the AccuWeather forecast.
Highs should reach the 30s on Sunday and even approach 40 by Monday, with rain and snow possible.
The City of Wilmington, Clinton County Engineer’s Office and Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) were among the entities that planned for winter’s blasts back in November. Here are some key facts about the treatment of roads within Clinton County:
• 17 trucks, running 17 routes
• Rotating 12-hr shifts.
• ODOT’s first priority routes are the interstate first and then the main arteries into the city.
• ODOT strives to have road conditions in good shape within 2 hours after event.
• Access the ODOT website www.buckeyetraffic.org for various winter weather updates and road conditions on state routes for the entire State of Ohio. The site is updated twice a day. They post if they are out and how many trucks are working storm, in addition to the Winter Storm Level. Each county in Ohio updates their information to this site.
Clinton County Engineer’s Office
• Operating on 12-hour shifts during winter storms.
• Running 9 routes, averaging 30-35 miles per route.
City of Wilmington
• Currently has 9 trucks, running 5 routes.
• Pre-treat with beet juice.
• Will treat roads as needed.
Wilmington Air Park
• Uses salt on inner roads.
• Sodium Formate on hand for use on ramps and runways.
• Air park posts conditions and incident updates at www.wilmingtonairpark.com.
Winter Storm Levels
The Clinton County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for all media releases regarding inclement weather and winter storm levels. The sheriff will post the winter storm level on their website at www.clintonsheriff.com, when applicable.
Winter Storm Levels are:
• Level 1 — Roadways are hazardous, drive very cautiously.
• Level 2 — Roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow, roadways are also icy. Only those who feel it is necessary to drive should be out on the roadways. Contact your employer to see if you should report to work.
• Level 3 — All roadways are closed to non-emergency personnel. No one should be out during these conditions unless it is absolutely necessary to travel. All employees should contact their employer to see if they should report to work. Those traveling on the roadways may subject themselves to arrest.
David Wright of The (Hillsboro) Times-Gazette contributed to this story.