The polar vortex aftermath will soon melt, causing new hazards

Erin Simonek

The weather in Kent was memorable and students are still defrosting from this polar vortex. While students had two days off, university and city employees spent their week at work.

Davey Construction employee, Aman Haq, said some people on his street had issues starting their cars following a pipe burst. “You couldn’t really function and get out of the street,” Haq said. “The last time I saw temperatures this severe was when I was in Canada.”

Amirul Islam also works for Davey and just moved from Texas to Northeast Ohio. Islam said the road were salted on the main roads during the polar vortex but the apartment complex he lives in was not salted. He said the city of Kent could do a better job clearing the roads. “I saw that it was snowing heavily,” Islam said, “but I don’t see a lot of people out there working on it.”

Lieutenant Mike Lewis with Kent Police Department said most cold related calls the Kent Police station received during the vortex were water main breaks, broken pipes and animal neglect.

Lewis said to pay attention to the parking bans listed by the police service department in the city. “A lot of handling the cold comes with paying attention,” he said. “Whether its following the parking bans or driving restrictions, if the weather gets that’s cold and you don’t have to be outside, don’t be out.”

Rhonda Wilson has been working for Kent State Grounds and Parking Services for 22 years and worked every day during the negative temperatures. “When the snow hits an inch or two, we’re plowing and salting,” Wilson said. Wilson said the main goal of her work is to make sure students and staff are safe walking and driving on campus.

Kent State Parking Services also hires contractors to help with the snow and ice.

“If the snow isn’t bad,” Wilson said, “I should be able to hit all of the campus lots in four hours.”

This weekend is supposed to bring 50 degree temperatures in Northeast Ohio. Warmer temperatures mean melting snow which could lead to possible hazards. “It’s difficult sometimes getting the snow out of the way,” Lt. Lewis said, “and when the snow melts getting the water out of the way is something our service department will be on the lookout for.”

“We try to make sure all drains are clear so when we do get warmer temperatures,” Wilson said, “the melting snow is able to go down the drain.”

 Lt. Lewis said the best thing to do in this type of weather is to pay attention. “It all boils down to common sense and safety practices,” he said.

Sunday’s temperature brings in a high of 51 degrees and a low of 39. 

Erin Simonek is the digital content manager. Contact her at [email protected]