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Winter storm sees fewer accidents as MLK Jr. Day keeps people indoors

Henry Ritton shovel snow Monday from the front of his Market Street home in Parkersburg. (Photo by Art Smith)

PARKERSBURG — Rain began hitting the area early Sunday evening and turned to snow overnight blanketing the area in several inches of accumulation by Monday morning.

Meteorologist Tom Mazza with the National Weather Service in Charleston said the Parkersburg area got 8-9 inches in some areas, Vienna got 10.5 inches, Williamstown got 9.5 inches, Mineral Wells got 9.5 inches and Pleasants County got 7-8 inches.

In Ohio, the Marietta area got 9-10.6 inches, 9.5 inches around Beverly, 9 inches in Coolville, 8 inches in Newport and 7.9 inches in Belpre, Mazza said.

Local law enforcement reported few problems as a result with many of the issues including minor accidents where vehicles slipped off the roadways and a few scattered power outages.

A supervisor at the Wood County 911 Center reported they had a number of calls regarding vehicles slipping off the roadways. In many cases, those could be pulled back onto the roadways and resulted in no damage or injury.

A City of Parkersburg snow plow makes it way up Sixth Street. (Photo by Art Smith)

“The majority of it has been the interstate,” he said. adding they had a little bit on Rosemar Road, but it was cleared off by early Monday afternoon.

Captain Matthew Board of the Parkersburg Police Department said they had few accidents Sunday evening into Monday morning. He had two vehicle crashes with minor damage and no injuries at W.Va. 95 at Edgelawn and the 2300 block of Camden Avenue. One went into a guardrail and the other slid into a power pole. Another incident involved a car that went off the road along Interstate 77 that resulted in no damage or injury.

The people Board saw out Monday were in four-wheel drive in a “fair amount of traffic.”

“There was a lightened traffic flow, but we were not at a standstill,” he said.

Local and state street departments were working on clearing roads throughout the area Monday and into the evening. Police have been in contact with them to let them know if they see any problems, Board said.

A lone vehicle travels south along Interstate 77 in Washington County Monday morning. The highway was covered with most traffic staying in a single lane. (Photo by Art Smith)

“As the roads clear up there will be some worse than others and we are able to communicate that,” Board said. “We don’t hesitate to get a hold of them if we see a problem.

“They have been working diligently.”

Wood County Sheriff Rick Woodyard said they did not see too many problems early Monday.

“People pretty much stayed in and we had minor problems,” he said of vehicles that went off the road but it wasn’t to the extent of the 54 they had during snow over a week ago.

At one point there were only around 25 homes without power, Woodyard said, adding they also had more ambulance calls for health reasons than they had for law enforcement assistance.

A mailbox and paper tube were piled high with snow along Cole Coffman Road in Marietta Monday. (Photo by Art Smith)

Although roads are being cleared, they will likely freeze overnight into this morning so people need to be careful going out, he said.

Woodyard credited the road crews with the work they did with getting a lot of the main routes passable by early Monday afternoon.

“If you don’t have to go out, don’t,” Woodyard said.

The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday kept many people home Monday and with snow being predicted throughout the weekend, many businesses decided to close Monday.

“I think all and everyone has done well,” Woodyard said.

A group of people walk down a cleared portion of Avery Street Monday morning. (Photo by Art Smith)

A dispatcher with the Belpre Police Department said the main roads in Belpre were being cleared off, including Washington Boulevard, Main Street, Farson Street and the four-lane but many side roads were still covered early Monday afternoon.

“They are working their ways into residential areas of the city,” she said, adding they had not had any crashes as of the early afternoon Monday.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol in Marietta said their calls been mostly cars that slid into ditches and needed pulled out with wreckers, said Trooper S.L. Rogers. Those occurred throughout Washington County.

“We have been fortunate with it being the holiday and many people were home,” he said. “The traffic was very light out there compared to a normal Monday.

“(The holiday) kept a lot of people off the roads.”

Ryan Jordan uses a four-wheeler to plow snow at the ParMar gas station at the intersection of Lancaster and Alta streets in Marietta Monday morning. (Photo by Art Smith)

A number of back roads were still snow covered and slick by mid-Monday afternoon.

“Back road travel is still very treacherous,” Rogers said. “The main routes are being cleared and are getting better.”

He advised people if they have to be out to be careful.

“Only travel if you have to and if you are out reduce your speed and drive carefully,” Rogers said.

Many of the surrounding areas were also dealing with snow covered roads and several inches of snowfall. The Ripley area in Jackson County had around 7.5 inches of snow.

“It is about the same everywhere,” said Walter Smittle, Jackson County Emergency Management Director. “Roads are snow covered and icy.

“DOH is working on them and they are recommending no travel until things get a little better.” Smittle said, adding they only had one minor accident Monday morning and had isolated power outages in the southern part of Jackson County which AEP Power was working on.

A number of secondary roads still had snow and ice Monday afternoon, but many people were able to prepare over the weekend.

“Everyone seems to have stocked up prior to the storm so we have not had many issues and we hope we don’t,” Smittle said.

Julie Sears, Emergency Services/911 Director and EMS Director for Calhoun County, said state highway crews were busy Monday getting the main roads cleared off.

“They are still dangerous and we are recommending people stay off the roads,” she said.

They had cars sliding off the roads and into ditches, but no accidents with injuries as of Monday afternoon.

They had around 100 people without power, but there was not a need to open a warming center as of Monday afternoon, but they still could if they need to, Sears said.

She said the holiday was a factor in the low number of calls they got. Many people in the area were checking on others and helping out where needed, she added.

‘A lot of people were home and safe,” Sears said. “Everyone is checking on neighbors and I am glad to see that.”

After scattered flurries throughout the area Monday evening with little accumulation, it is expected to be partly sunny today with a high near 37, Mazza said. Rain is expected to come through the area Wednesday with highs in the mid-40s which is expected to change to snow Wednesday night and end by Thursday morning with temperatures in the low to mid-20s.

“It looks like (today) will be a dry day with highs in the upper 30s,” Mazza said. “That should help the roads out a little bit.”

There could be a possibility of icy roads in time for the Thursday morning commute, he said.

If people have to go out, Board is urging caution as the roads remain slick in some spots. Rain is expected this week and that could freeze.

“If people are out, use caution and common sense and think about their surroundings in regards to the roads and other people operating vehicles and be as safe as they can be,” he said.

Jeff Kruger uses a snow thrower to clear off a driveway in Belpre Monday afternoon after several inches of snow hit the area Sunday night. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

Cy Varner shovels out his driveway in Belpre on Monday after heavy snows hit the area Sunday night. The area saw snowfall of more than 10 inches in some areas. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

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