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Mid-Ohio Valley crews prep for winter storm

Roads in regional counties being pre-treated

Photo by Art Smith A West Virginia Department of Highways snowplow turns from Fifth onto Ann Street during the start of the first snow of the season on Jan. 6. The next storm is expected to hit on Sunday.

PARKERSBURG – A winter storm predicted to hit the Mid-Ohio Valley region Sunday into Monday prompted state and local officials in West Virginia and Ohio to prepare Friday.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch Friday for the entire region, but it could evolve into a winter storm warning as the system approaches.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice declared a state of preparedness for all 55 counties in the state.

According to a press release from the governor’s office, the declaration directs the State Emergency Operations Center and its partner agencies to position personnel and resources to respond quickly in an emergency. Coordinating agencies were ordered by Justice to be on standby to report to the State Emergency Operations Center at the West Virginia Emergency Management Division.

The Weather Service will hold daily briefings for state agencies and local partners and EMD liaisons will provide updates from each county. Staffing has been increased at the EMD Watch Center to monitor the storm and notify leaders if local emergency management agencies need assistance.

“EMD monitors for any events that may threaten the citizens of West Virginia, including severe weather threats,” EMD Director G.E. McCabe said. “We’re prepared at all times to respond should there be an emergency.”

West Virginians were asked to check local media reports and follow any instructions issued by emergency officials.

Ashley Rittenhouse, a public information officer for the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) District 10, said workers on Friday were “out there getting ahead of the storm.”

ODOT had been pre-treating roads in the district – which includes Washington, Athens, Monroe, Morgan and Noble counties – with a brine solution to make it easier for them to deal with the snow once the storm hits.

Managers within the district have been watching weather reports, and bringing in crews as necessary to deal with the storm, with plenty of salt on hand, Rittenhouse said.

“We do want our drivers to be realistic with their expectations and understand that while we’ll be having crews out around the clock, they can still expect slick conditions,” she said.

City of Parkersburg Public Works Director Everett Shears said municipal crews are “prepared for whatever hits us.”

Salt spreaders were put on trucks and crews would add plows later depending on how bad the weather gets, Shears said. He said the city has plenty of salt on hand.

Charles Hess, the public works superintendent for the City of Marietta, said he had seven trucks loaded with plows and around 100 tons of salt to help clear their roads.

Larry Launstein Jr. can be reached at

llaunstein@newsandsentinel.com.

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