The Ottumwa Courier

January 22, 2013

Emergency workers deal with slick conditions

Packed-down snow-ice mix made for difficult travel Sunday

Courier Staff Writer

OTTUMWA — Ottumwa Police Officer Joe Yarkosky was on duty when the snow began to fall Sunday afternoon.

“It was a regular work day for me,” he said. “We work in these conditions and all other kinds of rain and snow. You get tough from driving in all kinds of conditions.”

Yarkosky hopes drivers will prepare themselves for driving in tough weather condtions. For example, he suggested people who have to drive should make sure they have enough time and have a planned route.

“The roads were slick but they were driveable if people prepared for winter driving,” the officer said. “When the major thoroughfares opened up, then the plows could move the ice and snow and the traction was better for everyone.

Yarkosky noted his shift was “more than a regular day” due to a lot of fender-bender accidents.

About 1 p.m. Sunday, the snow started and continued through to roughly 7 p.m. The “heavy” snowfall occurred from 2-5 p.m., but there wasn’t a lot of accumulation.

“The roads had a snow-ice mix on the roads in a short time and then it packed down, which made travel difficult on the north side with the steep hills,” Yarkosky said.

The city’s plows got out about 4:30 or 5 p.m. Sunday to work on clearing intersections.

Yarkosky said the recent storms have been rather minor and could have been worse.

“My best advice for winter travel is if you know roads are slick, don’t go,” he said. “If you have to travel and you know your routes, then you should drive at a reasonable speed.”

Ottumwa Fire Assistant Chief Rick Kleinman worked on his chores in between football games.

“I was coming back from the Church Street Kum & Go at about 6 or 6:30 p.m. Sunday, and I had to slow down at O’Reilly’s,” he said. “I was going along Albia Road, but I had to slow down at Fareway — which is hardly an incline. I couldn’t move and had to find some snow to get traction.”

The road was like a sheet of ice, he added.