Foot of snow cripples Northeast Ohio. Cancellations continue into Tuesday

·6 min read

A foot of snow kept many Northeast Ohio residents from work Monday and sent vehicles into ditches when others tried to venture out.

Already short-staffed agencies that provide critical care struggled as local governments worked around the clock to clear roads.

Public transit routes ran behind schedule or were canceled due to buses stuck in deep snow and absent employees.

Jalen Podsiadlo uses a snow blower Monday to clear his driveway in the Firestone Park neighborhood of Akron.
Jalen Podsiadlo uses a snow blower Monday to clear his driveway in the Firestone Park neighborhood of Akron.

A COVID testing site and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Stark County closed, as well as Lock 3 and the zoo in Akron.

The Akron Municipal Court also announced it would be closed Tuesday. All hearings, including arraignments are canceled. Those impacted will be contacted about rescheduling.

Kent State University decided to go virtual Tuesday and the University of Akron and many area school districts also canceled classes with much of the region still buried.

And stressed hospitals and long-term care facilities were left with even fewer employees. Nurses and staff slept overnight in hospitals, worked extra hours or got emergency rides to work from their employers during the snowstorm.

Zach Marzick takes his dog Sage for a walk along a sidewalk covered knee-deep in snow Monday in Akron's Firestone Park neighborhood.
Zach Marzick takes his dog Sage for a walk along a sidewalk covered knee-deep in snow Monday in Akron's Firestone Park neighborhood.

Travel was impaired or impossible in some places long after after the tail-end of snowstorm Izzy passed the Akron-Canton region around 10 a.m.

In Akron's Firestone Park neighborhood, Gavin Smith and a neighbor were digging his car out of the unplowed city street in front of his home. It was 3:15 p.m. He was expected to clock in at a nursing home in 15 minutes.

"The road is definitely not plowed at all. Hasn’t been touched," he said. "It was a struggle getting it out of the driveway. Now it’s even harder getting it down the road."

A firefighter clears the snow in front of Station Number 12 on West Market Street in Akron.
A firefighter clears the snow in front of Station Number 12 on West Market Street in Akron.

Already late for work, he eventually pushed his way through the city block of unplowed street.

Municipal workers had been treating the roads for days before the storm. City officials said Monday afternoon that residential streets across Akron would not be plowed until Monday night or Tuesday morning as crews prioritized higher-volume routes and streets leading to schools and hospitals.

Winter weather: When will your Akron residential street be plowed? Here's how to make a request

High call volume kept some requests for a city plow truck on the 311 hotline for 10 minutes or longer.

Akron Public Schools was still meeting with city officials late Monday afternoon, assessing the road conditions and determining whether to cancel classes.

"Part of our consideration is going to be how fast residential streets can be made passable so that our families and even our staff and faculty can actually get to school," school district spokesman Mark Williamson said.

How winter storm Izzy unfolded across the region

The National Weather Service forecasted 7 to 14 inches by 10 a.m. Monday. But several residents in Summit County reported closer to 14 inches, with gusty winds threatening snow drifts and a couple more inches on the way, especially in communities near the Interstate 80 snow belt.

At its worst, the snow fell an inch an hour overnight. It let up about 8 a.m. for much of the region as temperatures dipped to about 24 degrees by noon. The highest totals of 18 inches or more were recorded east of Interstate 77. Two feet of snow fell in Ashtabula.

Quentin Wyatt uses his snow blower to dig out of his driveway Monday on Rose Avenue in Akron.
Quentin Wyatt uses his snow blower to dig out of his driveway Monday on Rose Avenue in Akron.

Photos of stranded public buses and a snowmobile ripping through the streets of downtown Cleveland were shared on social media. People scrambled to sheds to gas up snow blowers, flagged down plow trucks or just resigned themselves to a day inside with a view of the season's first heavy snowfall.

Many never made it out of their driveways.

Cleveland's regional transportation agency reported 50 buses stuck by 5 a.m. In Summit County, 42 Metro RTA operators — about one in six — did not report for work. Fortunate to be running only fixed-routes and services for the disabled on the federal holiday, 17 of the agency's buses got stuck in deep snow and 23 routes were canceled.

"Our operations supervisors are reporting that, while driving conditions are stressful, everyone is doing their best to keep the services up and running in extraordinary circumstances," Metro RTA spokeswoman Molly Becker said.

The Stark Area Regional Transit Authority also reported delays. An Ohio National Guard COVID-19 testing facility at the Stark County Fairgrounds and Stark County Fair offices, as well as the Pro Football Hall of Fame and other attractions, were closed because of the winter storm.

A pedestrian walks along Vernon Odom Boulevard past a mural of Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022 in Akron.
A pedestrian walks along Vernon Odom Boulevard past a mural of Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022 in Akron.

The Akron-Canton Regional Airport was open and operating at normal capacity Monday.

"Our team has done a really good job of clearing the runways," said Lisa Dalpiaz, airport spokeswoman. She said some airlines have delayed flights, so travelers should check their flight times.

Summit County was upgraded to a Level 2 snow emergency Monday morning by Sheriff Kandy Fatheree after the National Weather Service upgraded it and Cuyahoga County from a winter weather advisory.

Roadways were hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. The sheriff said only people who felt it is necessary to drive should be on roadways.

The snow apparently had little impact on electrical lines. By 9 a.m., about 200 of the more than 2 million customers served by FirstEnergy and its subsidiaries were without power, the Akron-based electric company reported. That figure had dropped to 77 by 2 p.m.

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Treacherous roads

For vehicles that escaped their driveways, travel was treacherous Monday. The Ohio Department of Transportation reported numerous vehicles off the road or stuck in the snow across the region.

Scenes from the snowstorm: Winter storm traffic camera images across the region

The left lane of I-76 East at state Route 8 was closed at 8 a.m. because of snow and ice, ODOT said.

Most communities in the region implemented parking bans Sunday night and, by Monday evening, had not lifted them. Schools were closed for the Martin Luther King holiday.

Plow/salt truck crews in Akron began pre-treating streets with brine on Friday. The full fleet was deployed by Sunday, pre-treating roads with salt.

Mack Rodgers digs out his snow-covered car Monday on Edgehill Drive in Akron's Ellet neighborhood.
Mack Rodgers digs out his snow-covered car Monday on Edgehill Drive in Akron's Ellet neighborhood.

Cuyahoga Falls had 28 plow/salt trucks working on Monday, Mayor Don Walters said on social media. The trucks were concentrating first on state Route 8, main roads, intersections and hills until the snow stopped, then transitioned to secondary roads and then to neighborhoods.

AJ Stair snowboards down a makeshift ramp on his front porch Monday in Cuyahoga Falls.
AJ Stair snowboards down a makeshift ramp on his front porch Monday in Cuyahoga Falls.

The city of Cuyahoga Falls also announced that there would be no sanitation pickup on Monday. There will be a one-day delay in refuse collection for the balance of the week, with crews planning to work on Saturday.

Upcoming weather

Lake-effect snow for parts of Northeast Ohio was expected to increase through the afternoon into the evening.

The weather service said it did not expect hazardous weather Tuesday through Sunday, though additional accumulation of 1-2 inches in Akron, 1 inch in Canton and 3 or more inches in parts of northern Summit County and northwestern Portage County are forecasted by 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Miller South custodian Dennis Sulzbach plows the entrance to the school Monday in Akron.
Miller South custodian Dennis Sulzbach plows the entrance to the school Monday in Akron.

Wednesday's forecast —rain-snow mix in the morning with a high of 39 followed by snow in the evening — is expected to generate about a half inch of accumulation by the end of the day. Precipitation isn't forecasted again this week until Sunday.

The latest on accumulation through 1 p.m. Tuesday across the region.
The latest on accumulation through 1 p.m. Tuesday across the region.

Other Gannett reporters contributed to this report. Reach Doug Livingston at dlivingston@thebeaconjournal.com or 330-996-3792.

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Northeast Ohio still digging out from winter storm Izzy

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