Ice, not snow, is the biggest concern for Friday's winter storm
9:58 PM, Jan 11, 2018
6:14 AM, Jan 12, 2018
Ice is expected to accumulate on the roads before the snow hits on Friday, hiding the slick roads and making the commute home a dangerous one.
ODOT and First Energy have their work cut out for them as some parts of Northeast Ohio can expect to see up to a quarter inch of ice before a single snow flake even falls.
And the ice has them more concerned than the snow.
"That ice causes so much damage that you're not just repairing, you're literally rebuilding the system from the ground up," Mark Durbin with First Energy said.
Ice can weigh down trees and take down power lines. First Energy has two meteorologists on staff to let crews know if tomorrow's ice and freezing rain gets on the heavy side, which will allow them to act accordingly. Crews in Maryland and New Jersey are on standby to help.
"With ice, we don't have anything extraordinary on our vehicles," Durbin said. "They have to follow the same traffic rules like you and I do, so sometimes just getting in to where the outages are when the weather gets bad, that's a particular challenge that we face."
"We'll be putting what we call a hot load down tomorrow which is a chemical additive that we will add to the salt, for our hills and bridges," Cleveland Director of Public Works Michael Cox said.
Ice is a particularly tough challenge for Cleveland road crews. They can't treat the roads ahead of the storm, because the rain is expected to come in first and would wash it away.
Starting Friday, ODOT will have more than 80 trucks on roads throughout Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga Counties. Cleveland will have 48 trucks operating, double the standard amount.
"What happens with this rain and the freeze and then the snow on top of it, it becomes a very hazardous condition," Cox said. "That's why we're going to pre-salt tomorrow and work our plows 48 hours starting Friday and Saturday."
A tip from First Energy as we head into this storm: if your power goes out, give them a call. Don't assume your neighbors will call, because you may be the only house on the block affected.