Winter Storm: When’s the best time to hit area roads?

ODOT reminds motorists to give crews room to work as severe weather approaches

As people prepare to travel ahead of the Christmas holiday weekend, a winter storm could result in dangerous road conditions.

According to the National Weather Service in Wilmington, hazardous road conditions will hit western Ohio and the Miami Valley around 7 to 10 p.m. today.

Those who are traveling west will want to get on the roads earlier, with dangerous conditions expected to to start around 4 p.m. Roads in central and eastern Ohio are expected to see hazardous conditions from 10 p.m. today until at least 1 a.m. Friday.

Plummeting temperatures and harsh wind chills will cause rain to turn into snow Thursday night, with concerns of a flash freeze making roads icy and slick.

Rain is expected to start to transition to snow between 10 p.m. and midnight in western Ohio and between midnight and 2 a.m. Friday for central Ohio.

Snowfall will continue into Friday morning, which could cause visibility issues. About 1 to 3 inches of snow is expected for most of the area, but west central Ohio could get up to 4 inches, according to NWS.

“Avoid travel tonight into early Friday morning if possible,” the NWS said. “If you must travel, bring extra supplies, such as coats, blankets, phones charges and bottled water in case of travel difficulties.”

Wind gusts of up to 50 mph are expected Friday, which could bring down tree branches and cause power outages.

Scattered snow showers are possible Friday night. Combined with harsh winds, blowing snow could once again make traveling difficult.

The Ohio Department of Transportation began prepping equipment for the winter weather and topping off salt brine levels earlier this week.



“Since most forecasts have this storm beginning with rain, that would significantly impact our abilities to pre-treat roadways since the rain will wash away all de-icing liquids,” said Tiffany Oliphant, ODOT District 7 public information officer. “We’ll be closely monitoring forecasts and are in constant contact with the National Weather Service and our private weather vendor, DTN. We will have crews out ahead of the precipitation changing over to snow so that we’re ready to begin treating roadways immediately.”

While many people plan to spend the holiday weekend with family, Oliphant said Christmas will not impact staffing.

“Our men and women expect to work when conditions call for it,” she said. “They’ll be giving up time with their families so others can spend time with theirs. It’s what we do.”

Oliphant asked people to stay home and off the roads if possible. Anyone who has to be on the roads should check the weather forecast and road conditions on first.

“Roads will be snow-covered and hazardous at times, even with our crews out in full force, so plan ahead for travel to take much longer,” she said. “You will not be able to drive the speed limit during the storm. You will need to slow down. Please be patient with our crews and give us room to work.”

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