BELMONT COUNTY was under a Snow Emergency Level 3 early today as snow and strong winds kept their grip on the Ohio Valley for a second day.
Level 2 was the status this morning in Monroe and Jefferson counties while such levels are not announced for Harrison County.
Crews continued to plow the snow-covered roads, but the strong winds were counteracting their efforts by blowing snow back on the highways.
T-L Photo/MIKE PALMER
WITH A snow-shrouded Bellaire Bridge in the background, motorists navigate slippery road conditions on Ohio 7 in the All-American Village Thursday afternoon. Several more inches of snow are predicted today, making travel even more treacherous. Belmont County roads were placed on Snow Emergency Level 3 when The Times Leader went to press today. For additional photos, view cu.timesleaderonline.com
Level 3 provides that "all roadways are closed to non-emergency personnel. No one should be out during these conditions unless it is absolutely necessary to travel. All employees should contact their employer to see if they should report to work. Those traveling on the roadways may subject themselves to arrest."
Under Level 2, "roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Only those who feel it is necessary to drive should be out on the roadways. Contact your employer to see if you should report to work."
Dave Ivan, Belmont County Emergency Management Agency coordinator, said he spent the entire night at the Emergency Operations Center "just in case. Thus far, no real emergencies have surfaced," he said.
A dispatcher at Belmont County 911 said it has been an "uneventful night regarding snow and weather emergencies."
Roads in Belmont County were snow-covered and slippery early today, and motorists were advised by law enforcement officials to stay off the roads unless it is absolutely necessary.
Officials said if anyone is required to be out, then drive slow and with caution. They said they want motorists to permit snowplows to do their job.
Ty Justice, road and maintenance supervisor at the Belmont County garage said road crews were out all night, and another crew was ready to go at 5 a.m. He said 18 trucks loaded with salt and cinders are out on the roads.
A dispatcher at the St. Clairsville Police Station said city crews were out on roads, spreading salt and cinders. He said no accidents have been reported.
The Ohio Department of Transportation, Morristown, had 16 trucks on the road most of the night, and they were ready to go back out early this morning. A spokesperson at the garage said it has been "non-stop" for the road crews and the equipment. The spokesperson advised motorists to not drive if they don't have to and to go slow and be careful if they must be out on the roads.
A spokesperson for the Ohio State Highway Patrol in St. Clairsville said no accidents have been reported as of 7 a.m. The Belmont County Sheriff's Office said no calls have been received from anyone regarding problems on county roads.
Township and village crews were also out most of the night and early today battling the snowy conditions on the roads.
ODOT officials in Harrison, Monroe and Jefferson counties indicated early today that it seems as if crews have been out on the roads since before Christmas.
Darren Hendershot, ODOT transportation manager I, early today said, "It's snowing and blowing right now. There's a lot of drifting."
The current storm, Hendershot said, began Thursday morning, and road crews have been working around the clock and will continue to do so.
A minor accident occurred in Harrison County before midnight, but no other accidents were reported there early this morning.
"We have 10 trucks out, and the workers have gone to 12-hour shifts," said Chris Wood, manager of the ODOT garage in Harrison County.
He advised motorists to drive slow and take their time, but not leave home unless it was necessary. "The roads are nothing to write home about, but they're passable," Wood added.
A lot of plowing also is being done in Jefferson County where Scott Jenkins, ODOT transportation manager, said particular attention is being paid to turns and intersections so drivers can get traction with their vehicles.
Jenkins said the crews have been working since Sunday, non-stop 24 hours a day, and they also have been busy the last couple of weeks.
"The wind's very strong, and there's a lot of drifting," the ODOT official said. He indicated often, the snowplow clears the road and then travels a few miles with the cleared area covered up again with drifting snow.