There was no white Christmas in Delaware County this year. Instead it was a wet Christmas … very, very wet.
And that means the city of Delaware and Delaware County haven’t had to spread salt on roadways so far this winter.
Delaware saw 4.31 inches of rain in December, including 2.83 inches in the last seven days, according to the National Weather Service. The normal amount of precipitation is 2.72 inches.
The 10-day forecast shows high temperatures in the 30s and low 40s next week, so snow doesn’t appear to be coming any time soon.
And, at least for now, Delaware County is out of the woods in terms of heavy rainfall, according to the Delaware County Emergency Management Agency.
“As far as what we’re doing currently, we’re monitoring the river conditions as far as crest and how high those are predicted to get with the rain,” EMA director Sean Miller said. “Thankfully, I think we’re past the worst of it as far as the rain goes.”
The 2.83 inches of rain put the EMA on alert for flooding, rather than the typical snowfall.
“This year versus the past few winters, it has been substantially warmer and we’ve had quite a lot of rain the past five to seven days,” Miller said.
Even with all of the rain locally, Marion County was hit harder this week.
“Delaware County is currently better off than Marion County,” Miller said. “It takes a higher crest on the Scioto, particularly for Delaware County to have any impact. So, generally speaking, the impacts are greater for the Prospect (or) La Rue areas of Marion County than they are in Delaware County.”
So how has the weather impacted Delaware County’s snow removal resources so far?
To date, the city of Delaware has not used any salt and Delaware County had prepared the roads ahead of a possible snow event once.
“We haven’t had to use any product, we haven’t had to pay any overtime and in the long run, we perhaps won’t need to spend much money on snow and ice for 2015 and 2016,” said Lee Yoakum, community affairs coordinator for the city.
“Our crews our ready, we have materials ready, we have a good snow and ice removal plan in place for when we know we will need it this year,” Yoakum said. “Anybody that has been around Ohio winters knows it’s not a question of if, but when. We know the weather will come and we will be ready.”
The city had spent $55,000 on snow and ice removal for materials and manpower, which included regular pay and overtime, before Dec. 30, 2014.
They used 410 tons of salt and 44,000 gallons of salt brine and treated 3,300 lane miles or 1,650 road miles which took 225 hours of work.
The county had used 610 tons of salt, 28,600 gallons of brine and spent $122,600 on material and labor by Dec. 31, 2014. The cost of labor was $35,800.
The county has spent $2,100 for materials and manpower so far this winter.
As far as heavy rains go, the EMA offered some common sense.
“If the roadway is flooded, don’t chance it,” Miller said. “Just turn around and find a safer route because it really doesn’t take a whole lot of water to flood out a vehicle. The townships, cities, villages, ODOT – they do a good job of posting when there’s high water.”
Miller added when drivers ignore these signs, it puts others in danger.
“People do drive past signs,” he said. “So, if there’s a sign up, don’t drive past it. If a roadway is flooded without a sign, just don’t chance it. Not only are they putting their lives in danger, but they’re also potentially putting first responders’ lives on the line as well because they’re going to have to come out and rescue them.”