Business resumed close to normal for much of Chillicothe today (Wednesday) while city streets and country roads remained mostly snow-packed. Classes at Chillicothe and area schools were cancelled for the second day in a row this week.
In all, the National Weather Service reported this week's storm to have produced between 10 and 11 inches of snow in Chillicothe — about 7.5 inches falling by Tuesday noon, and around an additional 3 new inches of snow overnight. Actual amounts varied depending upon location, and some residents in the area reported to have received up to 20 inches of snow. Additionally, steady winds and wind gusts created deep drifts. The Monday-Tuesday storm added to a thick blanket of snow that had remained on the ground since last week's Thursday-Friday storm that produced nearly 7 inches of snow.
Plow efforts, sunshine and a high temperature of 34 Tuesday helped clear the streets; however, the overnight storm that was expected to bring just an inch of snow ended up producing three more inches, thus creating new travel woes.
On Tuesday, the courthouse and city hall were closed because of the weather. A few power outages were experienced in town and a significant number took place in the area.
Around 1,000 customers in the Farmers Electric Cooperative's coverage area were without power at some point in time on Tuesday. As of mid-morning today (Wednesday), around 175 customers (mostly in the areas of Avalon, Indian Grove, Stet, Ludlow and Braymer) were without power. The bulk of the power outages centered around Carroll County and western Chariton County, where 10 utility poles broke as a result of the weather. The snow that fell in this storm was a wet, heavy snow, and there were also strong gusts of wind.
Grundy County Electric Cooperative assisted FEC on Tuesday, and an a contractor came in help deal with the situations of broken poles.
Chillicothe Municipal Utilities reported that there were four house services down for a short period of time. The outages occurred because tree limbs, weighted down with heavy snow, had fallen on lines between the poles and the houses. Outages, said electric superintendent Matt Hopper, were at a minimum, thanks to an aggressive tree-trimming program CMU has conducted over the last few years.
Chillicothe street crews shut down at about 3:30 Tuesday afternoon, with the streets in good shape, said Street Superintendent Barry Arthur. Crews returned at 5 this morning to battle the new snowfall. The city has 11 trucks — five large ones and six smaller ones — to help with street clearing efforts. One truck, however, was out of commission and waiting for parts for it to be fixed.
"We keep wearing away at it," Arthur said of the snow. "We haven't touched the alleys yet. It will be hard to get through with as much snow that came in."
He said that alleys are more difficult to clear, also, because they are not a hard surface.
Large snow piles are located throughout town and the street superintendent said it could be awhile before the piles are removed, as crews currently are focusing on pushing snow off the roadways.
"Mother Nature may melt part of them away before we get them hauled," Arthur said.
Motorists have abided by the emergency snow route ordinance and have, in general, found locations other than along the downtown streets and emergency snow routes to park their vehicles. After last week's storm, there were 18 vehicles, whose owners had to be notified in order for them to remove them from the streets. This morning, Arthur said, there were just two or three.
"This was a tremendous improvement," he said, noting that having a road cleared of vehicles allows the street department to more effectively do its job. "We can get the snow plows clear out to the edges where they need to be."
Arthur complimented the police department, which worked with Arthur and contacted the owners of the vehicles that were violating the ordinance.
"The police were a tremendous help to get people to move their cars," he said.
Chillicothe Police Chief Rick Knouse advises motorists to be careful if they need to be out, but suggested the best thing for them to do is to stay home.
"If they don't have a reason to get out, they need to stay home and wait until the street department gets the roads cleared," Knouse said.
He said his department has worked a few accidents and helped several motorists whose vehicles were broke down or stuck during the last couple of days. The accidents, he said, resulted in only minor injuries, and were caused because of sliding on the roadways and sliding into intersections.
Because the department is equipped with four SUVs, the weather has not affected police response.
The chief also noted that there had been a few disturbance calls "probably from people getting cabin fever."
A smaller snowstorm may move into the area tonight that could add another inch or two of accumulation, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Al Pietrycha, out of the NWS station in Pleasant Hill. Today's forecast called for a high of 33 degrees, with an overnight low of 28. The temperature on Thursday is also expected to reach 33 degrees. The high temperature for the next several days should be in the 30s, reaching into the upper 30s on Monday and Tuesday.
Tuesday's high reached 34 degrees and had an overnight low of 28.