MACEDONIA — Motorists could experience a rougher ride on local roads the remainder of this winter following recent frigid cold temperatures, according to Macedonia’s service director.
According to the National Weather Service, Cleveland area temperatures did not rise above the freezing (32-degree) mark from Dec. 24 to Jan. 7. They were in the single-digit range a few days, and windchill readings were considerably below zero several days.
Weather forecasters described the recent spell as "dangerously cold." Temperatures rose into the mid-30s on Jan. 8, and 40s and 50s are forecast for mid week to later in the week before temps drop into the 20s on the weekend.
The cold spell did not affect the Nordonia Hills schools much as they were on spring break between Christmas and New Year’s Day and through Jan. 5. But snow on Jan. 8 canceled classes.
Service Director John Hnottavange said pavement separations can occur more frequently during extremely cold weather, but his crews are going to test a new product which is billed as a better fix than cold patch.
He noted crews could not get out to patch roads last week because of the extreme cold, but they will be out in warmer weather.
The cold spell "gave us a chance to do some indoor work," he said.
Hnottavange said the cold spell did not result in any major water line breaks, although crews were checking out a report of a possible break Monday morning in the Waters development behind the Winking LIzard.
He said Monday morning’s snow and ice brought out salt crews at 4 a.m., and they worked throughout the day until higher temperatures melted the snow and ice from the roads.
Meanwhile, area law enforcement officials reported none or very few serious incidents during the cold snap.
Macedonia Police Sgt. Ken Turley didn’t know of any major issues last week.
"There were some reported accidents," he said. "Judging from what we’re hearing, it’s about normal. Nothing crazy, no fatalities, no injury accidents that I know of."
Summit County Sheriff’s Deputy Wes Dobbins, who patrols Northfield Center Township, also last week said he did not know of any weather-related issues such as accidents or disabled vehicles. He attributed much of that to the schools being closed.
"It was quiet for us," said Dobbins. "We had some snow, but it wasn’t bad at all. When schools close, it makes a difference on the traffic. It changes the whole morning and afternoon commute."
Likewise, Sagamore Hills Police Records Clerk Janelle Mucha said the police department did not know of any issues.
Some police departments around Ohio reported a handful of cases this winter where people were warming up their unoccupied cars in their driveways, only to have thieves drive off in them.
Macedonia Fire Chief Tim Black said his crews did not have a rash of rescue calls during the cold snap and no fires to fight, but noted there’s always the possibility of people falling on ice and snow, and health problems when people do strenuous work outside.
"You really have to be careful when you go out in single-digit temperatures to prevent frostbite and hypothermia," he said. "We had a recent case where a person died inside his house after being out shoveling snow."
Black encouraged people to be concerned about the welfare of their neighbors and pets, make sure furnaces are working properly and be careful when using portable heaters, wood burning stoves and fireplaces.
A 64-year-old man was found frozen to death on his front porch last week in Akron.
He also stressed the importance of removing snow from around fire hydrants and being sure police and fire crews can clearly see house numbers.
Health professionals say frostbite and hypothermia are two conditions which may occur when people are exposed to frigid temperatures, and some area hospitals reported cases of both during the cold snap.
If people must go out in the extreme cold, experts say they should limit their time outside, bundle up in several layers of loose clothing, wear mittens rather than gloves, cover ears with a warm hat and wear socks that will keep feet warm and dry.
Hypothermia occurs when the body's temperature drops below 95 degrees. Severe shivering, one of the first signs of hypothermia, is beneficial in keeping the body warm.
But as hypothermia progresses, shivering gives way to drowsiness or exhaustion, confusion, shallow breathing, irregular heartbeat, slurred speech, loss of coordination and, eventually, unconsciousness and even death.
330-541-9400 ext. 4189