CINCINNATI - With some areas in the Tri-State expecting up to five inches of snow overnight and into Wednesday morning, plans are already in place and ready to executed should severe weather impact the area.
The Butler County Sheriff's Office says it has deputies patrolling the streets ready to make a call for the salt trucks once they see the snow start to fall.
A Duke Energy spokesperson says that although they do not anticipate many power outages from this storm, they are still prepared with extra supplies in case there is ice on power lines.
Many Tri-State residents may be thinking of salting their driveways and residential streets in preparation for the snow, but environmentalists say avoid generic street salt if you can. Excess salts build up in the soil, just as they do with chemical fertilizers. Residue can prevent plants from absorbing moisture and nutrients and it can also hurt pets if it gets caught in their paws.
Morton salts currently makes a pet-friendly Safe-T-Pet ice melter, which can be used safely around animals. You can find that product at http://www.mortonsalt.com/for-your-home/snow-and-ice-melters/ice-melt-products/101/morton-safe-t-pet-pet-care-ice-melt .
TheDailyGreen.com suggests some alternatives to using rock salt, which include "snow-melting mats" for your driveway, spreading birdseed or sand for traction and using an electric blower.
If you do purchase rock salt experts say choose wisely. Sodium chloride may contain cyanide. Calcium chloride is slightly better since less goes farther, but it is still not ideal, since its run-off still increases algae growth, which clogs waterways. Potassium chloride is another salt to avoid.
Whatever you use, keep it away from landscape plants, especially those that are particularly salt-sensitive, like tulip poplars, maples, balsam firs, white pines, hemlock, Norway spruce, dogwood, redbud, rose bushes and spirea bushes.
There are also products readily available that may make other parts of your morning commute easier.
HEET brand makes an aerosol can of windshield de-icer that guarantees to melt any snow ice or frost from your windshield. That can be purchased for less than $3 at area gas stations and hardware stores.
Windshield washer fluid and a snow brush/scraper are also tools that may help with visibility on your morning commute. When purchasing windshield fluid, make sure to look for the formula that can withstand the coldest temperatures.
To stay up to date with the latest forecast and what to expect, visit wcpo.com/forecast .
To get severe weather alerts in your inbox or texted to your phone as they are issued, go to wcpo.com/alerts .
To map the severe weather as it moves across the Tri-State, visit http://www.wcpo.com/subindex/weather/maps .
Need the latest weather information on the go? Download WCPO's mobile apps to keep in touch wherever you are at wcpo.com/mobile , including our new weather radio app at http://www.wcpo.com/dpp/weather/safety/9-news-introduces-severe-weather-radio-app-storm-shield-for-iphone .
The weather may affect traffic in the Tri-State, go to wcpo.com/traffic to monitor your commute.
Power outages could pop up in the area as a result of the storms, go to http://www.duke-energy.com/ohio/outages/current.asp for the latest power outages in the Tri-State.
Flying somewhere? Check on potential delays and/or cancelations at CVG and other U.S. airports at http://www.fly.faa.gov/flyfaa/usmap.jsp .
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.