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With winter storm near, road crews, Duke Energy, Cincinnati Auto Club ready to spring to action

Posted at 5:36 PM, Jan 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-12 05:21:31-05

CINCINNATI -- Snow plows and salt trucks are ready.

Duke Energy crews are ready.

The Cincinnati Auto Club is ready.

Are you?

With the Tri-State expecting a significant storm Friday, you can bet that crews all over the area are carefully following its every movement. We know it’s coming, we just don’t know how much.

CHECK the latest forecast and weather conditions.

Salt was loaded on trucks Thursday, and Cincinnati’s public service crews begin working 12-hour shifts at 7 a.m.  Friday. Nearly 80 drivers are ready to hit the roads when the first precipitation falls — and that could be ice.

“We have to utilize salt.  We have to try to break that ice up,” said Public Services Superintendent Jarrod Bolden. “Salt is effective in its liquid form, so we have to constantly apply it. The one thing about ice is that it takes multiple trips on our route to become effective.”

Bolden was in the winter operations center Thursday carefully monitoring preparations.

“Trucks are equipped with spreaders so salt will be ready. Plows are attached, so it will be very easy to go from one to the next,” he said.

Ice is a big concern for power lines. It doesn’t take much  bring lines down, according to Duke Energy’s Sally Thelen.

“Generally speaking, a quarter inch of ice on our lines is something that is going to be a very significant issue for us to work with,” Thelen said.

Duke trucks are loaded with all the equipment needed to restore power. And everybody knows the drill, Thelen said.

“We definitely have been making sure that people have their plans in place — to plan on working extra, working over the weekend,“ Thelen said. “I certainly feel confident that we’ll be prepared once this hits.”

Dispatchers at the Cincinnati Auto Club have already taken 10,000 calls for help this winter, and Friday’s storm means a high volume of inbound calls. That’s why AAA roadside assistance crews have made sure their vehicles are in order.

Fleet supervisor John Wettig says the snow, ice and cold produce a wide range of problems.

“Normally, we see a pretty big increase in battery calls,” Wettig said.   “A lot of jump starts.  A lot of people needing batteries replaced.  A little bit of distress in terms of people sliding off the roads - pulling people out of ditches.”

Road crews say that if there’s ice on the roads, stay home.

Do the same if the snow is too heavy.

Give trucks extra room to work.

And slow down if you have to be out.

Residents also need to make sure they’re prepared.

Check your food supply to make sure you have the necessities.

Check your car. 

 “Have that emergency roadside kit stocked with bottled water, blankets, anything that will help you in case you get stranded,” said Jennifer Moore of the Cincinnati Auto Club.  

You also want to have a charged cell phone charger with you when you're out traveling, said Wettig.

Check your car battery for enough cold cranking amps.

Check your tire pressure.

RELATED: The lazy homeowner's guide to winter storm preps.