Valley deep freeze prompts safety warnings

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Icy conditions are on the way for the Valley Friday night and into Saturday and local crews are gearing up for a busy night.

Transportation and safety officials are warning people about using generators in the event of a power outage, and Storm Team 27 Meteorologist Matt Jones talks about the icy conditions.

“The way freezing rain works is it pretty much falls the same as rain, but it’s super cooled and it’s already below 32 degrees,” Jones said. “Anything that it touches freezes instantly – that’s power lines, trees, and when that happens if you get too much on it, it starts coming down.”

ODOT spokesperson Bent Kovacs said the department is going to have 40 trucks on the road to combat the ice and freezing temperatures.

“We are going to be using a lot of salt,” Kovacs said.

First Energy is prepared, too. Spokesperson Mark Durbin said they have inspected their repair trucks and are ready to tackle any problem that could arise.

“Our crews are trained to operate in all kinds of conditions; all of our bucket trucks have been inspected. We want to make sure the equipment doesn’t freeze up, Durbin said.

Durbin said to make sure outages are reported right away. Don’t assume your neighbor or someone else has already called.

The Sharon Fire Department is also reminding folks to not drive over downed power lines in the road. Assume that they are live – stop your car to prevent other people from driving over the line, and call 911 for help.

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