Winter storm shuts down county operations
Ryan Carpe Staff Writer
DARKE COUNTY – While local street crews battled the elements on Sunday and Monday, the chilling temperatures continued to shut down many businesses and schools as residents waited for the weather to abate.
As of 5 p.m. on Monday, the Darke County Sheriff’s Office announced that all county and township roads would be at a modified Level 3 Snow Emergency, meaning that are those streets are closed to non-emergency personnel.
However, streets within the City of Greenville and state routes would remain open on a Level 2 Snow Advisory.
The weather reached its coldest record in 20 years in many areas, while more than 3,500 flights nationwide were canceled by noon Monday, according to flightaware.com.
By 9 a.m. on Monday, Greenville had already recorded four inches of precipitation, according to the National Weather Service.
All Darke County public schools were closed on Monday, including Ansonia, Arcanum/Butler, Franklin, Greenville Monroe, Mississinawa Valley, Tri-Village, Versailles and also Bradford Schools. The decisions were made early Sunday night, as school officials saw the sleet rapidly freeze on the roads followed by heavy snow that carried into the night.
Greenville St. Mary’s Catholic School and EMU Christian Preschools were closed as well. But schools weren’t the only ones affected, as areas of the entire county shut down in anticipation of the severe weather.
Many local public libraries were also closed, including branches in Greenville, Bradford and New Madison.
As of 9 o’clock p.m on Sunday, the Darke County Commissioners decided to close all county offices on Monday after consulting with Sheriff Toby Spencer and determining that conditions were too severe for travel. This meant that not only were the courthouse and administrative buildings closed, but also other organizations like the Darke County Mental Health and Darke County Animal Shelter closed their doors.
The Darke County offices are scheduled to return operations to a limited staff today however.
According to a representative from Dayton Power & Light, Darke County experienced around 180 separate power outages on Monday afternoon. However, none of these outages were due to one large incident, and were scattered around the region.
According to DP&L, a sizable amount of the power outages were due to traffic accidents that involved residents sliding on ice and hitting poles, as well as wintry conditions knocking down wires.
As if the cold winds, snow and ice weren’t enough, residents may have had difficulty finding their local shops and businesses open during the severe weather. In downtown Greenville, many of its stores closed over Monday including Cavalier Clothing, Sadie Grace and all of its coffee shops.
Each Greenville National Bank branch were closed, and Second National Bank closed their Mercer County location, however their drive-thrus were closed Monday afternoon at Third Street and Walnut Street due to windows freezing shut.
And that’s just as well, as the Ohio Department of Public Safety had officially urged residents to minimize their time outdoors and travel only when necessary to reduce the risk of accidents and falls, as well as health-related issues such as hypothermia and frostbite.
“Temperatures and wind chills in the negative numbers can be extremely dangerous and their impact on people, pets, cars, and houses should not be underestimated,” said State Senator Bill Beagle (R–Tipp City) in a prepared statement. “I urge everyone in the Miami Valley to take additional steps to prevent accidents and health issues and to check in with neighbors as well as sick and elderly family members.”
As of Monday afternoon, only minor power outages were reported limited to a few households, with no extended power outages expected in Darke County.
With the extremely cold temperatures Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) crews were working to clear the roads from ice, however, they warned that as the temperature plummeted the salt and brine becomes less effective on the pavement.
ODOT wished to remind drivers that even if roads look clear, there could be black ice or slick spots.
Their crews remained on duty in Auglaize, Champaign, Clark, Darke, Logan, Mercer, Miami, Montgomery and Shelby Counties until the roads were clear., and snow plow numbers may be adjusted through the day as weather conditions warrant.
And today looks to be more of the same activity, as this morning is projected at -9 degrees with a windchill factor of -33 degrees, according to AccuWeather.
So while residents may wish to return to their everyday lives already, most will have to wait for Wednesday as the storm subsides.
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