COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Nobody should be surprised to hear that the state of Ohio spent a lot more money on snow removal this winter than last.
Last year's warm, mild winter couldn't have been more different from the winter that won't go away this year. And state spending shows it.
Spending on salt, maintenance and wages to cope with winter weather is up throughout the state. Last year, unseasonably high temperatures saved transportation departments millions of dollars.
Newly fallen snow creates a late March winter wonderland setting for an early-morning walker on Letchworth Drive March 25 in Akron, Ohio.
The Ohio Department of Transportation reported that it has spent $79.2 million statewide on snow-and-ice removal this winter. Last year, the agency spent $43.8 million in the state in the same period.
Two years ago, the agency spent about $85 million.
"The bottom line is this: This year's more in line with historic averages, but it's double last year's," Ohio Department of Transportation spokesman Steve Faulkner told The Columbus Dispatch for a story Monday.
This season, ODOT has spread 720,241 tons of salt on Ohio roads. That's compared with 368,667 tons at this time a year ago.
State transportation-department trucks have hit the roads and highways for 2,620 snow and ice "events" this year, up from about 1,500 a year ago. The agency defines an event as one that requires at least 50 tons of salt in one day, and each county that requires the response is counted separately.
The National Weather Service says it has been a colder and snowier winter than normal in many areas of Ohio.
In central Ohio, for instance, March had an average temperature of 37.3 degrees (4.6 degrees below normal) and 12.1 inches of snow, which is 7.7 inches more than normal. The weather service said the month was the fourth-snowiest March on record.
Columbus got 28.2 inches of snow between December and February, 7.36 inches more than normal.
Nobody is saying that it's over yet.
"Just keep in mind that this is Ohio, and the chance to get yet another massive snowstorm continues into April," Faulkner said.