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Winter weather on the radar this week

WARREN — Find a hat and scarf, a pair of gloves that match — and be sure that heavy coat still fits. You’ll need them all today.

Snow is expected to fall on much of northeast Ohio through Wednesday, possibly making for tricky commutes.

Road crews in Mahoning and Trumbull counties say they’re prepared to tackle whatever may come.

For example, Kevin Flinn, Youngstown’s buildings and grounds commissioner, said the street department is prepared for snow removal.

The department has 26 drivers, each working 12-hour shifts. Thirteen of them reported at 7 p.m. Monday and the other half will report at 7 a.m. today, he said.

“We’ll be on standby, but there’s nothing we can do until the snow starts,” Flinn said. “I’m hoping for rain, a light drizzle.”

The Ohio Department of Transportation has 35 trucks available for this week’s snowfall — 15 trucks in Mahoning County and 20 trucks in Trumbull County.

“Once the rain stops and the snow falls, our crews are ready,” said Justin Chesnic, a spokesman with ODOT District 4. “We have about 90 percent of the salt we normally would have for this time of year.”

“It seems we have gotten snow a little bit early this year, but we’re ready,” Chesnic said. “We are just recommending people slow down, avoid having distractions and just take the necessary precautions in preparing their vehicles for winter weather.”

The National Weather Service on Monday predicted three to five inches of snow falling through Wednesday on Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Summit, Portage and Trumbull counties.

Trumbull is under a winter weather advisory through 7 p.m. today.

Girard Mayor James Melfi said his city’s salt bins are full and its plow trucks are ready for whatever is coming over the next several days.

“Really, while wishing no ill will to our neighbors to the north, I’m hoping the snow will stay up there,” Melfi said. “We’ve been successful with a mixture of salt, brine and slag.”

Temperatures today will see a high around 29 degrees and cold around 18 today. The highs will be in the lower 30s on Wednesday.

The NWS in Cleveland warns that lake effect snow bands will develop across the primary and secondary snow-belt region continuing through today.

Trumbull County Engineer Randy Smith on Monday said his road crews were on notice they could be called out if heavy snows came on Monday.

The county’s salt dome is packed with about 10,000 tons of salt.

“There is still salt on many roads from the last snowfall,” Smith said. “We did not pretreat the road with brine.”

Smith reminds drivers to be careful on the road at all times, but especially around the large salt and snow removal trucks that will be clearing the roads.

Trumbull County employees and those of most area cities had Veterans Day off, but were on alert if the snowfall became significant enough for road crews to be called out.

“Everything is ready to go,” he said.

Warren Safety Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa said the city also did not do any pre-treatment to prepare the roads, but the equipment was ready prior to Monday’s snowfall.

Warren this winter season will be using straight rock salt on its roads. Last year, there were complaints that the salt-to-aggregate mixture did not, in some instance, melt the snow fast enough.

Like the county, city employees were off for the Veterans Day holiday.

“If we have to call them out, it’ll be time and a half,” Cantalamessa said. “It would be the first time this winter season.”

Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill said three of the village’s four salt trucks are ready to roll when the snow falls.

“Our salt dome is full,” Hill said.

This year’s winter season is expected to be wetter than normal in the Great Lakes region, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac predict greater than normal precipitation over the next week, but very little snow after the first two days of this week. Temperatures are expected to be below normal.

rsmith@tribtoday.com