Bitter cold follow the snow

By Stacy Kess

January 27, 2014

Delaware County Sheriff Russ Martin lifted a level 2 snow emergency shortly after noon on Monday, but Delaware is not out of the woods yet.

Weather predictions for today promised more polar temperatures, and the Sheriff’s Office warned partially cleared roadways and bridges had a high potential for freezing and causing slick driving conditions.

“While the majority of roadways are clear, there are still some side roads, bridges, overpasses, etc. that have drifting snow or slush,” said DCSO spokesperson Tracy Whited. “As the temperature drops throughout the day and overnight, there is potential for ice. Please use caution (and slow down) when driving.”

Over the weekend, DCSO reported nine of 11 reported accidents were weather related.

Lt. Kevin Knapp, commander at the Ohio State Highway Patrol Delaware Post said between Friday night and Monday morning, his troopers handled 32 weather-related traffic issues.

“We have all become very busy in life with no time to waste and this is very reflective of the way we drive as a society,” he said. “If at all possible during these winter months, we need to learn the art of patience and slow down. Winter driving is nothing more than extreme safe driving, slow down, leave a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you, and remember, your vehicle, no matter how safe, will not stop in the same distance as it does on dry roads.”

In addition to driving safely, the Delaware County Emergency Management Agency said be prepared to stay warm in the car if something does happen.

“Make sure your car is prepared, that you have extra blankets that you’re dressed warmly and that you have a tank of gas. Because if you get stuck in your vehicle, you’re going to need to be prepared,” said Sandy Mackey, spokesperson for the EMA.

“And it’s going to stay cold, it’s not just today,” she said. “It’s going to be chilly, it’s going to be wind chills on top of that, and it’s going to be cold for the rest of the week.”

The EMA is warning that preparation for the extreme temperatures is key.

“We try to have everybody be safe and be prepared,” Mackey said. “That’s sort of our motto this winter.”

She said that it is possible that power outages could occur during the cold-snap; during the subzero temperature in early January, more than 4,000 Delaware County American Electric Power customers experienced some loss of power.

“Something we’d like to get out is that your power could go off for any reason,” Mackey said. “Be prepared for power outages. They can happen anywhere, and sometimes they can happen in the middle of the night when you can’t get a hold of anybody.”

She said there are no warming shelters open at this time, but EMA and partnering agencies such as the Red Cross are ready to open shelters if the need arises. She said residents need to be aware that it could take several hours and that residents will need to find ways to stay warm if the power goes out while a shelter is preparing to open. Mackey said it is important people check on their neighbors, especially those who have difficulty getting out of their homes, to ensure safety.

The EMA is also warning that for those residents using space heaters or generators to supplement heat and power, it is important to do so safely by always following the manufacturers directions, never leaving a space heater on when out of the room and never using generators indoors.

Mackey said livestock and pets can also be affected by the extreme weather and should be brought inside if possible. For livestock unable to be brought indoors, warm shelter should be provided with unfrozen drinking water.