Area motorists are kicking off the work week with yet another winter storm, which is expected to slow things down during the morning rush.
The National Weather Service forecasts up to four inches total by tonight. The latest forecast and conditions here on AkronNewsNow.
There is a Winter Weather Advisory in effect for Summit, Stark, Wayne, Medina and Portage Counties. There could be a total of 3 to 5 inches of snow during this storm.
Brent Kovacs with ODOT District 4 says there's plenty of trucks out treating the roads making them safe. the district we have about 100 trucks out," Kovacs said. "We are treating the roads with salt and salt brine to make the commute safe for drivers."
LATEST school closings and delays
Medina's Sheriff issued a Level 1 Snow Emergency declaration. Here's what those advisories mean:
Snow Emergency Classifications
LEVEL 1: Roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Roads may also be icy. Motorists are urged to drive very cautiously.
LEVEL 2: Roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Roads may also be very icy. Only those who feel it is necessary to drive should be out on the roads. Contact your employer to see if you should report to work. Motorists should use extreme caution.
LEVEL 3: All roadways are closed to non-emergency personnel. No one should be driving during these conditions unless it is absolutely necessary to travel or a personal emergency exists. All employees should contact their employer to see if they should report to work. Those traveling on the roads may subject themselves to arrest.
Back to the highways, ODOT's Kovacs says its important for drivers not to crowd the plows during the morning commute. "Just give the plows plently of space to work and remember that they are going below the posted speed limit so they can get that snow off the road."
He says ODOT trucks are working on 12 hour shifts both plowing and salting the roads.
City of Akron crews are busy as well, with 51 units out on the roadways as well. Public Works Manager Paul Barnett says they started working on primary roads early this morning for rush hour , but they are beginning to work on secondary roads, treating them with salt and salt brine.
A steady snowfall that began mid-morning was enough to frustrate drivers and keep road crews busy.
"All our indications are that this is a Clipper and one of the characteristics of a Clipper is that they do move through the area kind of quickly," said Brent Kovacs with the Ohio Department of Transportation.
There are 20 trucks servicing Summit County today, spreading calcium chloride.
The weather system is moving from the south, prompting many school districts from parts of Tuscarawas County to Columbus to dismiss students early today. In Summit County, ODOT is thinking the time of the storm - after the morning commute, but before the afternoon rush period - will make the ride home much easier than navigating the deteriorating road conditions around lunch time.
"We are hoping so," said Kovacs. "Our crews are out there battling hard to keep those roads wet for the commute home."
The National Weather Service calls for 1-2 inches of snow this afternoon. Less than a half-inch is likely tonight.
Motorists can let out a sigh of relief - 277 east is is open to traffic.
The nearly month-long closure between the Kenmore Leg and I-77 was scheduled to open late Sunday night.
Brent Kovacs, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Transportation District 4, said construction crews worked diligently to complete the first phase of construction at the scheduled date.
The entire construction project includes:
- The reconstruction of I-277/I-76/US 224 in the city of Akron.
- The resurfacing of I-271 from state Route 8 to the Cuyahoga County line.
- Bridge re-decking of seven bridges along I-77 in northern Summit County
Starting June 1, drivers will still have to adjust their routes as ODOT closes the Kenmore Leg for one week in each direction. However, the closures will not occur at the same time.
Construction on I-277 west will close between I-77 and the Kenmore Leg in late June for about a month.
Click here to get the latest updates from ODOT.
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