Snow finally blankets area

PARKERSBURG – The first snow this year saw municipalities and schools prepared as more snow is expected through Saturday.

“We have trucks loaded with salt and ready to go,” said Parkersburg Public Works Director Rick Lemley. “We are monitoring the weather and waiting to see what happens.”

Belpre Mayor Mike Lorentz said the city road crews were out twice overnight Wednesday into Thursday and, like those in Parkersburg, were on standby for more snow.

“We’re prepared,” Lorentz said. “We have 400 tons of salt and cinders and more on order if we need it.

“I think we’re in good shape and ready for whatever happens,” he said.

Liz Sommerville, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston, said there is another two to four inches of snow expected in the Parkersburg area through Saturday morning.

“Yes, definitely more snow coming,” she said. “The positive side is that it will be warmer.”

While temperatures barely cracked the 20-degree mark on Thursday, today will start a warm-up with a high expected to be 29 degrees and into the low 30s this weekend.

“Next week we should be seeing low 50s as daytime highs,” Sommerville said.

The weather had an influence on area schools as many districts closed schools Thursday because of road conditions with an eye on what is on its way.

Sue Woodward, assistant superintendent with Wood County Schools, said officials were continually watching weather reports throughout the day Thursday.

“There seems to be differing opinions on when the front is coming through,” she said.

School officials are watching the timing of the storms and what the state Department of Highways is saying.

“We are also comparing notes with the surrounding counties as well as the city school districts in Ohio,” Woodward said.

There are around 11,000 students in Wood County. Officials have to determine if they can be safely transported in the morning and afternoon.

“We want to make sure that if we get them here, we will be able to get them home,” Woodward said.

Belpre Schools Superintendent Tony Dunn said the district doesn’t usually make the determination not to have school the day before. Officials are continually monitoring weather and road conditions.

The Belpre district also weighs whether conditions are expected to improve past the point of a possible two-hour delay, Dunn said.

“We also have to determine if it is going to be dangerous out for the children,” Dunn said.

Mike Dennis, director of the Wood County Senior Citizens Association, said they have not heard many complaints about the cold from local seniors, but the weather is a concern for many elderly in the area.

Some older people do not want to go out into the cold so there are not as many coming to the seniors center on Market Street, he said. Slipping on the ice is always a big concern for many area seniors.

“People need to be very careful because of the ice,” Dennis said. “There is some out there and it could be treacherous.”