Meigs County Commissioners signed a proclamation yesterday declaring a state of emergency, but a deputy sheriff said Sheriff Robert Beegle does not grade snow emergencies, e.g., “Level One” or “Level Two.”
Deputies and dispatchers were advising motorists to “restrict driving” until road conditions improve, although they said roads were mainly slushy by midday.
The commissioners’ declaration directs “public offices and employees to exercise the utmost diligence in execution of emergency laws, regulations and directives from the state and local levels.” It will help qualify the county for emergency disaster assistance, if needed.
Robert Byer, director of the Meigs County Emergency Management Agency, said the Emergency Operations Center, which serves as the official emergency services headquarters during such a storm, had been opened. Byer said no shelters have been opened for those without electricity. He said the EOC is now dealing with problems on a case-by-case basis.
Byer said the center had received only four calls for assistance mid-afternoon yesterday, and one person had been evacuated from her residence in Middleport to a relative’s home in Chester.
“Shelters are lined up in case we need them, but we have none in place at this time,” Byer said. “Rather, we are dealing with isolated cases, and are trying to hold our own at this point.”
Byer said he planned to go out into the county later in the day to survey damage.
A wintry mix of freezing rain and snow first caused problems Tuesday, but the precipitation just kept coming in various forms, until roads were coated and slippery, and trees were covered in ice and snow. Ohio Department of Transportation crews, township and county crews and village street workers were working around the clock to clear roadways.
But the main problem for most local residents has been the interruption of power. Yesterday afternoon, AEP Ohio reported that 8,217 Meigs County customers were in the dark, up from 1,888 earlier in the day. (See related story.)
School was canceled for Thursday, again, and Byer said conditions could continue to worsen as more trees are downed.