Valley Gets Ready For Weekend Winter Blast

Photo by Scott McCloskey Ted Showalter of Wheeling looks over salt supplies at Lowe’s in Wheeling on Thursday.

WHEELING — With predictions ranging from a few inches of snow to about a foot in the region’s higher elevations, Ohio Valley residents are making plans now for a wet and snowy weekend that extends through Monday, the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

For many, those plans will include a trip early to get groceries and supplies along with salt and other snow-related necessities. For others, though, it will mean getting the skis or the snowboard out of the garage and planning a weekend jaunt to Oglebay Park or possibly to nearby Seven Springs Mountain Resort.

Seven Springs is one business that is more than eager to see the snow fly. Resort officials said while recent cold temperatures have made for great snowmaking, the sight of natural snowfall, both on the mountain and in nearby cities, typically creates a rush to the resort for fantastic skiing and snowboarding.

The resort’s weather services notes there could be as much as a foot of new snow by Sunday.

“The natural snowfall that is showing up in the current weather pattern, combined with it being a three-day weekend, has us and our customers very excited,” Seven Springs Communications Manager Katie Buchan said.

“We look forward to having 100 percent of our slopes and trails open” this weekend.

At Oglebay Park, where skiing and snowboarding ramped up following last weekend’s snowfall, officials also are planning for a busy weekend with the expected snowfall.

Oglebay’s groomed surface currently has 2 inches of natural snow and 10 inches of man-made snow. Skiing at Oglebay is open from 4-9 p.m. today, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday.

Not everything is fun when it snows, though. For those who don’t partake in winter sports, there’s always the prospect of shoveling the driveway or, at a minimum, the sidewalk.

Dr. Clay Winkler, an emergency room physician at East Ohio Regional Hospital in Martins Ferry, said it is common for patients with strained muscles and even cardiac issues to come into the ER after trying to shovel heavy snow.

“They’re just exerting more than they’re used to,” Winkler said.

Winkler said people who are not in good physical condition need to take extra precautions while shoveling snow.

“People need to use the proper lifting technique and take it slow and easy. They should not try to shovel as fast as possible. If they start feeling chest pains or are having shortness of breath, they should come into the emergency department,” he said.

In Wheeling, business owners are reminded of a city ordinance, enacted in December 2017, that requires the removal of snow and ice from a sidewalk in front of the business within a 24-hour period of its accumulation. If snow and ice are not removed, the city may dispatch workers to clear the sidewalks at a cost of $175 per labor hour to the property owner.

At Ked’s Ace Hardware in Moundsville, Assistant Manager Ruben Cunningham said customers have been coming in at a steady pace buying items in preparation for more snow.

“We’ve sold quite a few shovels and salt. There is pet-safe salt that doesn’t tear their paws up. It’s safe for concrete as well,” he noted.

Cunningham said when a larger snowfall is forecast people do tend to take care and prepare themselves in Moundsville.

“Watch your back and don’t do too much at once,” Cunningham advises of shoveling snow.

No matter the weather, some people will have to work during a snowstorm. The U.S. Postal Service also wants to remind residents that keeping sidewalks and steps clear of ice is important to their carriers — and to the delivery of the mail. They also want people to keep areas around their drive-up mailboxes clear as well to help motor-route workers deliver the mail on time.

“With the weekend forecast — calling for accumulations of snow, freezing rain and ice throughout the Pittsburgh region and surrounding counties — Postal officials are asking for the public’s cooperation in keeping mailboxes, steps, and sidewalks clear of snow and ice so letter carriers are able to provide the safest, most efficient delivery service possible. … Overhangs should be clear and free of snow and ice to avoid injury,” postal officials said.

The National Weather Service of Pittsburgh has issued a winter storm watch for the Ohio Valley from Saturday morning until Sunday afternoon. Snow and ice accumulations may total from 3-12 inches.

“Travel could be very difficult to impossible. A winter storm watch means there is potential for significant snow, sleet or ice accumulations that may impact travel,” the weather service said.

Martins Ferry police Chief John McFarland said his best advice for people is to stay home and off the roads during the storm.

“If you don’t have to go out, don’t go out,” McFarland said.

He noted city workers do a great job of clearing the roadways, but during storms it is best to stay off the roads.

“If you do have to drive make sure you have the proper safety equipment: blankets, flashlight and even a road flare is good to have,” he said.

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