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* News Release *
 
Friday, January 30, 2009, 2:30 p.m.
For Immediate Release

WINTER STORM SUMMARY

Butler County road crews finally got a break late yesterday afternoon but were pressed back into service for yet another, but much lighter round of snow during the overnight hours. Roads on the County road system are currently in very good condition following this week's rigorous efforts by the BCEO Snowfighters and thanks to some sunshine that finally broke through this morning.

"All County roads are clear and passable," said Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens. "Most are wet due to the melting that is occurring, but motorists should continue to exercise caution and beware of slush and icy patches. We would urge extra caution tonight if the temperatures drop to near zero as predicted. There is likely to be some re-freezing of roadway surfaces." Wilkens emphasized that his crews will be called out again tonight should any problems develop.

The massive snow and ice storm that struck southwest Ohio this week kept crews in continuous service from 8:00 Monday night until 4:00 p.m. Thursday -- 68 straight hours. During that period, the Engineer's Office spread 1,202 tons of salt, utilized 3,140 gallons of calcium chloride, and accrued 1,342 labor hours. Total cost for this storm -- $181,686.

Although over a thousand tons of salt were used, the primary mode for clearing roads during deep snows like this is plowing. This is particularly noteworthy now since there is a nationwide salt shortage and government agencies everywhere are trying to conserve. The BCEO continues to be in much better shape than some, with nearly 2,500 tons of salt still on hand and another 2,000 tons soon to be delivered.

Lots of Snow and Ice, but not a Record Breaker

Plodding along from Monday night into late Wednesday morning, the winter storm deposited 10-12 inches of snow and nearly an inch of ice on Butler County. A first round of snow dropped 4-6 inches, followed by a 16-hour period of freezing rain and sleet. Another 4-6 inches then piled on top of the existing snow and ice before it was all over.

BCEO crews reported slightly higher amounts of snow in the Oxford area with more ice in the southeastern townships, although the 10-12 inch range was fairly standard across the entire County. Virtually no drifting was noticed by the crews, probably due to the icing and lack of wind. Drifting during heavy snow storms is a common occurrence in the rural western townships where open spaces and lighter traffic allow winds to drift snow typically across north-south roads.

Interestingly, this week's storm began on January 26, the 31st anniversary of the 1978 blizzard. That historic storm dumped over a foot of snow on southwest Ohio and produced hurricane-force winds of over 100 mph as temperatures plummeted to near zero (F). To read more about the "Blizzard of '78," click here.

# # #

For more information contact:

Chris Petrocy, BCEO Public Information Supervisor
Greg Wilkens, P.E., P.S., Butler County Engineer
Phone 513.867.5744 • Fax 513.867.5849


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