Lancaster, Fairfield County happy with "a normal winter storm"

After worries about a lot of ice followed by a lot of snow, Lancaster was happy to get mostly snow as part of the winter storm (WSYX/WTTE)

LANCASTER, OH (WSYX/WTTE) — People living southeast of Columbus woke up Saturday to half a foot of snow, but hardly any ice. It was a pleasant surprise for a community that expected as much as a quarter-inch of ice before Friday's storm.

"We did have small amount of ice," said Jon Kochis, the emergency management director for Fairfield County. "But our crews were able to get out and pre-treat the roads with salt at just the right time, so the ice didn’t really affect driving."

Kochis said there were no major crashes, fires or power outages Friday night into Saturday, the benefit of an ice storm that never really materialized. Less than 200 customers were without power the county by mid-morning Saturday, mostly in rural clusters to the south and east of Lancaster.

The county remained under a Level 2 snow emergency at midday Saturday, thanks to a wealth of side streets and country roads that will stay unplowed for at least part of the weekend.

Private plow driver Dan Raybourne found out the hard way about the snowy, icy roads; he got stuck twice on his way to plow the St. Mary's Church parking lot on South Pearl Street.

"There’s some ice under the snow, and that didn’t help me out," Raybourne said in between plow runs. "It’s slick underneath, but this lighter snow is a lot easier to push."

The focus by late morning on Saturday had turned to clean-up. County officials were already warning residents against over-exerting themselves while shoveling, advising people to take regular breaks and lift heavy loads with their legs. Emergency medical crews were on regular standby waiting for injury calls related to heart troubles or slip-and-fall accidents.

Main Street neighbor Bob Hedges said he would only make a single pass on his sidewalks, then let the sunshine take care of the rest.

"I'm just going to finish up the sidewalk," Hedges said, "then go inside and settle back for the weekend."

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