CINCINNATI — This week’s winter storm brought 2-4 inches of sleet and snow to the greater Cincinnati area, leaving roads impassable and thousands without power for much of Thursday and Friday. 

When the storm left the region shortly after noon Friday, cities, business owners and residents began the long task of digging out.

What You Need To Know

  • Snow removal crews could catch up with the accumulation shortly after the sleet transitioned to snow

  • 2-4 inches of snow and ice fell around the Cincinnati area

  • Travel was treacherous for much of Thursday and Friday morning

  • Crews recommend drivers continue to avoid unnecessary travel until Saturday

While Cincinnati is no stranger to snowstorms, this one brought unique challenges, both in terms of preparation and response.

Because of the series of rain, ice, then snow, the Cincinnati Department of Public Services could not pretreat roads as the rain would wash everything away. That meant when the ice arrived, it immediately froze to the streets and accumulated quickly.

The long duration of the storm served as another challenge. Sleet started around 9 a.m. Thursday and lasted into the night. 

Hyde Park Landscaping, which was contracted to clear the Hyde Park Plaza shopping complex, overnight ran into that problem. Operations manager Don Brockman said crews had to work for over 12 hours to keep up with the accumulation.

“At one time, we had eight pieces of equipment out here and we’ve been rotating crews in and out on this one project,” he said. “We’ve got 25 pieces of equipment out throughout greater Cincinnati.”

Due to the cold overnight temperatures, salt wouldn’t work until the morning, so it took multiple passes to break through to blacktop.

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years and I’ve never experienced this kind of ice that we’ve had so far,” he said.

Homeowners faced similar problems, as the storm ended, residential roads throughout the city were largely untouched and driveways and sidewalks were just as icy as the roads. 

“It just continued and it didn’t stop,” Bill Boone said of the storm as he shoveled his driveway.

Boone said he and his wife, Rose Ricke, took multiple shifts throughout the storm to ensure things wouldn’t get too icy.

“Since we did it yesterday, we got that first, that first inch or two of ice and now it’s coming up pretty easily with this tool,” she said.

By the time the sun came out around noon, many of Cincinnati’s plow crews could catch up on the city’s high-traveled streets, but side streets remained treacherous throughout the day.

Both DPS and private snow removers like Brockman agree, the fewer people on the roads the better, as plows need space and time to clear roads and parking lots for Saturday.