Wicked winter weather

After Thursday’s winter snow storm, Washington County remained under a level two snow emergency early Saturday.

A level one snow emergency, where drivers should be cautious of drifting and blowing snow and icy road conditions, was declared at noon Thursday before being upgraded to a level two emergency at around 5 p.m, where it remained.

“In a level two emergency, roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow,” said Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks. “Only those who feel it is necessary to drive should be on the roadways.”

Mincks said the most severe emergency, a level three, where all roadways are closed to non-emergency personnel, had not been declared for many years.

The very poor condition of the secondary streets and back roads led the emergency to remain in effect late Friday and into Saturday.

“The main thoroughfares may be OK but the back roads and secondary roads are not,” Mincks said. “We usually wait until at least 75 to 80 percent of the roads are pretty well passable until lifting the emergency.”

Roger Wright, Washington County engineer, said most county roads are looking decent, adding that crews worked until the wee hours of the morning Friday to make sure roads were passable by plowing and treating them.

“We had crews working from about 3:30 (p.m.) until about 5 in the morning,” Wright said. “We started back again at 5:30 (with different crews).”

If more snow and ice happen to hit over the weekend, residents can rest assured that roads will be maintained.

“We’re on an on call basis,” Wright said. “We’re watching the weather just like everybody else. We’ll see what happens Sunday into Monday.”

In parts of the county with plenty of back roads, the sun on Friday helped improve the road conditions.

“We laid down cinders on the roads and with the help of the sunshine, we’ve got a lot of the snow melted away,” said Decatur Township Trustee Terry Welch on Friday afternoon. “This sunshine has really helped us out.”

However, the news wasn’t all good in that area, with a log truck that got stuck on a country road Thursday night still stuck late Friday, said Welch.

Things were looking much better by Friday afternoon in Salem Township, said Trustee Bill Kidd.

“”We’ve been over nearly all of (the roads),” he said. “We got all the hills. We’ve had some wrecks as far as that’s concerned, but otherwise now we’re in pretty good shape.”

Four to six inches of snow had been removed from some roads in parts of Liberty Township, said Trustee Barry Hendershot, but some hazards remained a day after the snow fell.

“Most roads have gravel on them, especially on the hills,” he said. “It’s still going to be slick in some areas.”