Crews across the Mahoning Valley prepping for winter storm

As Mahoning County road crews waited for Monday night's anticipated snow storm to arrive, they filled potholes

Snow plow loaded with salt.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Road crews are prepping for a winter storm, expected to move through the Mahoning Valley on Tuesday.

Not too many people are excited about having a snow storm in the middle of March, but snow removal companies are looking forward to the boost in business.

This storm has the potential to bring the most amount of snow the Valley has seen all winter.

WKBN 27 First News reached out to several snow removal companies in the area on Monday, but half of them were not available to talk because they were out of town buying equipment for Tuesday’s storm.

They jumped into action this weekend after the first warnings about the impending winter blast.

That’s when Second Nature started gearing up. It has 35 tons of salt and 100 bags of sidewalk salt on hand, and Bobcats and snow trucks ready to go.

Second Nature owner Anthony DiGiacomo said weather events like this are great for business.

“Probably multiple plows. We do a lot of sidewalk shoveling, multiple shovelings, so absolutely, total revenue will be higher than the standard.”

DiGiacomo is asking people to be patient tomorrow. The crews clearing snow and laying down salt have to take their time to ensure safety for themselves and everyone else.

Even though the snow plows will be out clearing roads, that doesn’t mean driving on them will be a breeze. Driving in the snow can be difficult even in the best conditions.

Greg Anderson, with All Star Driving Academy in Boardman, said it’s best to not drive at all during intense winter weather. If you have to do it, there are some things to keep in mind:

  • Slow down. The roads will be slick so driving slowly will give you more time to react.
  • Increase your following distance to about six seconds from the car in front of you.
  • Keep your low beam headlights on like you would when driving in foggy weather. High beams create a glare, which can make it more difficult to see.
  • If you start sliding, don’t panic. Take your feet off the pedals, don’t slam on the brakes or the gas, and start turning your wheel in the direction you want to go.
  • When crossing over bridges, pay close attention to those yellow and black signs.

“This is the sign that marks where the bridge meets the road surface and that’s important to know simply because that’s where it freezes,” Anderson said. “You have the warm temperature of the road surface meeting the cold temperature of the bridge surface.”

All Star said preparation is just as important as driving carefully. You should clean your windows, mirrors, and headlights, and make sure you have enough gas and wiper fluid.

As Mahoning County road crews waited for Monday night’s anticipated snow storm to arrive, they were making use of their time filling potholes in Boardman and Austintown.

Mahoning County Engineer Pat Ginnetti said the fluctuating temperatures have really taken a toll on his workers.

“It’s very hard on the equipment. It’s hard on the employees, you know. It’s tough to patch all day then turn around and then have to get in a plow truck and plow snow all night,” he said.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed a Proclamation of Disaster Emergency in anticipation of the storm, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Pennsylvania Turnpike will have speed restrictions.

A 45 mile per hour restriction will be in place beginning at 10 p.m. Monday, from the Bedford Interchange, exit 146 on I-76, east to New Jersey on I-276 and on the entire Northeastern extension, I-476.

PennDOT said speed restrictions will also be in place on all interstates and expressways east of Interstate 99, including Interstate 99, and on Interstates 70, 76, 78, 80, 81, 83, 84, 283, 176, 180, 476, 380 and all expressways not on the interstate system.

All tandem truck trailers, empty trailers, towed trailers, buses, recreational vehicles and motorcycles will be banned from traveling on those roadways. Drivers are also warned not to pass Turnpike trucks that are plowing the highway.

Governor Wolf also announced that PennDOT will strategically deploy additional assets to areas expected to be hardest hit by the storm.

Wolf and state agencies will provide an update on preparations for the impending winter storm at 3:30 p.m. Monday, which will be streamed live at https://governor.pa.gov/live or https://www.facebook.com/governorwolf.

For updates on travel conditions, go to 511pa.com or ohgo.com.

Locally, there are several parking bans in place. You can find those on our school closings and delays list.

WKBN is your source for the Valley’s latest weather information. Download our app for Apple and Android devices and sign up for weather text alerts.

WKBN 27 First News will be on the air, starting at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday with the latest weather forecast, school closings and travel updates.

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