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Northeast Ohio shoppers, road crews bracing for winter storm

Posted at 5:46 PM, Dec 20, 2022

AKRON, Ohio — At Discount Drug Mart in Cuyahoga Falls, cashiers have been ringing up customers who are buzzing about the storm on the way.

"Oh yes, they're buying a lot of salt, a lot of staples. A lot of people are talking about it and worried," said Lyn Patterson, who works at the store on Portage Trail.

Salt, shovels, bread, milk and last-minute Christmas gifts are among the most popular purchases this week, but not everything that ends up in a cart is a winter blast necessity.

"I'm getting chocolate," joked customer Sue Williams.

However, the comfort food doesn't completely put Williams' mind at ease. She's worried about driving to work on Saturday. Snow, ice, wind and bitter temperatures on Friday and Saturday after rainfall on Thursday have her on edge.

"I work in a group hom,e so I have to go. It's very important that I'm there for the clients, but yeah, I'm nervous," she said.

Bob Jermann, who retired from the Summit County Sheriff's Office as a lieutenant, stopped by the store to pick up ice melt and food for his seven dogs. He wanted to beat the bad weather because he knows from experience the roads can get very dicey.

"The only scary part about it is it's going to rain on Thursday and freeze so fast that you're going to have a sheet of ice," Jermann said.

Jim Hall, public works bureau manager for Akron, is keeping a close eye on the changing weather system. As of now, he's expecting about four inches of snow for the rubber city, but said that isn't the biggest concern.

"Oh my gosh, I think one of our biggest concerns is just the low temperatures that we're gonna be facing and the single digits and the fact that there's gonna be high winds," Hall said. "You could get frostbite just filling up your tank."

Akron expects to dispatch about 50 snow plows drivers as early as Thursday evening to pre-treat the roads.

As the storm moves in, the city will dump white rock salt—which is effective with temperatures in the teens—and then switch to green rock salt with added chemicals to attack snow and ice at even colder temperatures.

"We'll have all our routes covered, and hopefully then some, is the way I want to go about it," Hall told News 5.

Hall said he's also concerned about strong winds knocking down power poles and knocking out electricity to homes.

"Obviously, a bunch of trees down will be a problem for everybody. Power loss will be a problem for everybody," he said.

For those traveling over the holiday weekend, Hall advises drivers "know before they go" and monitor Ohio Department of Transportation cameras on ODOT's website.

"Knowing what you're getting into is going to be half that battle. You don't want to be surprised when you get there."

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