Miami County overcomes snowstorm

By Sam Wildow

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MIAMI COUNTY — Agencies in Miami County tackled the snowstorm this week, with snow plows working on keeping roadways clear and emergency services responding to minor accidents caused by the winter weather.

The Feb. 3-4 snowstorm included widespread rain that gradually changed over to freezing rain, sleet, and snow as a cold front moved through the Ohio Valley, according to the National Weather Service of Wilmington. A report to the National Weather Service stated Troy received upwards of 8 inches of snow and sleet. Dayton received 6 inches of snowfall, reaching a new record for Feb. 3. The last record was from 2000 for 3.4 inches.

Miami County Engineer Paul Huelskamp on Friday said operations are ongoing, so the department does not have the final quantities of the cost, time, and tons of salt spent on this snowstorm, but the department has ordered an additional 1,000 tons of salt to replace a portion of the materials used over the past few days.

“The crews performed with their usual efficiency and professionalism. We had minimal equipment failures, and we did not run short of material during the event,” Huelskamp said.

A Miami County snow plow tipped on its side early Thursday morning due to the icy road conditions from the snow storm. The crash occurred between Wilson and Forest Hill Roads around 5:45 a.m. on Thursday. The accident was caused by the icy roads.

Huelskamp said the driver of the snow plow was examined at the hospital following the accident and released back to full duty.

The vehicle was also found not to be damaged following the accident.

“After it was extricated from the ditch, it was brought back to the County Garage for assessment. No damage was found, so it was ultimately put back in service that afternoon,” Huelskamp said.

As of Friday morning, Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak said his department responded to approximately seven property damage crashes since the beginning of the storm.

“There were no injuries associated with them,” Duchak said. “We have had a couple of slide-offs with no damage.”

Duchak credited county residents with following the warnings of this snowstorm, making it easier for crews and emergency services to operate.

“For this large of a storm, things have gone remarkably well,” Duchak said. He said traffic was noticeably reduced during the storm, making it easier for snow plows to clear the roads and for emergency services to respond to calls for service.

Miami County was under a level 2 weather advisory from Thursday afternoon to Friday early afternoon. By 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Duchak had lifted the weather advisory.

“Currently, Miami County is not under a snow advisory,” Duchak said. “Road conditions have dramatically improved throughout the county thanks to the round the clock efforts of all local, county, and state snow plow crews. The salt is melting snow/ice, which will likely mean some refreezing of roadways tonight as temperatures dip to single digits. Motorists should continue to drive slowly and afford extra time to arrive at one’s destination.”

Troy Police and the Troy Fire Department responded to a wreck on Thursday afternoon that involved an SUV crashing into a pond near F&P America after the driver lost control of the vehicle. The lone occupant was assisted to safety by Troy firefighters.

Troy Chief of Police Shawn McKinney said his department only responded to three accidents since the start of the storm. Troy Police also responded to approximately half a dozen reports of people stuck in the snow, as well as a few other reports of reckless operation.

During the snowstorm, there was also a reported grease fire at a residence on the 900 block of Fountain Street in Troy. Assistant Fire Chief Gary Stanley with the Troy Fire Department said firefighters quickly put out the fire. The American Red Cross was called in to assist with relocating the occupants of the home due to the fire breaking a water line in the home. One person was transported to the hospital for evaluation after suffering some smoke inhalation.

The Piqua Police Department received seven reports of vehicles stuck in the snow since Thursday morning, including one incident on Thursday afternoon on East Ash Street by the Miami Valley Centre Mall.

Deputy Chief Jason Preston of the Piqua Police Department said there were also several semi trucks that had difficulty traveling eastbound as they could not get enough traction after stopping at the red lights.

“That impacted traffic in the area until the roads could be cleared and salted a short time later,” Preston said. The department also received three reports of reckless driving involving drivers purposely sliding on roadways. Those vehicles were gone prior to officer arrival. Piqua Police also responded to three minor crashes that could be attributed to the weather conditions and people driving too fast for those conditions.

“The roads are beginning to be cleared, but they remain icy,” Preston said on Friday. “The police department would still encourage people to stay home if possible to allow the road crews to clear the roadways. If you must travel, please give the road crews plenty of room while they are working and to keep your speeds down.”

Chief of Police Greg Adkins of the Tipp City Police Department said no major accidents were reported in Tipp City during the snowstorm.

“Tipp City responded well to the recent snowstorm,” Adkins said. “Officers handled citizens’ and motorists’ assistance and responded to service calls. Residents stayed off the roadways, which reduced the amount of traffic, and those who did travel reduced their speeds. Public works crews were able to work well with light traffic and did a terrific job of clearing the roadways.”

There is a 40% chance of snow for the area on Friday night, according to the National Weather Service, with temperatures reaching as low as 4 degrees.