By Kristin Rover
The first winter storm of the season dumped several inches of snow throughout the area Dec. 6, followed by more snow Dec. 10.
Ohio Department of Transportation Officials had 126 snow plows on duty in several counties Friday night working to clear the roads, according to a release from the department.
All available plows were also on duty Tuesday morning.
Department officials encouraged residents to go slow and use extra caution on bridges and ramps when driving in the snow.
While several other counties declared snow emergencies on Friday, Clermont County Sheriff A.J. “Tim” Rodenberg did not declare a snow emergency.
In a release, Rodenberg explained the snow emergency protocol he uses.
“Snow emergency procedures vary county by county and in each county the sheriff has the discretion and authority to declare snow emergencies depending on the circumstances,” Rodenberg said.
Rodenberg said according to Ohio law, a level one snow emergency occurs when roadways are hazardous with blowing or drifting snow, roads may also be icy and motorists are urged to drive very cautiously.
He said a level two emergency occurs when roadways are hazardous and very icy. Motorists are urged to drive only if necessary and those traveling on roadways subject themselves to being arrested.
In a level three emergency, Rodenberg said roadways are closed to non-emergency personnel and no one should be driving during these conditions unless it is absolutely necessary.
“In Clermont County I will not be declaring snow emergencies at any of the above levels on a regular or frequent basis,” Rodenberg said. “Level one can be seen and determined by the naked eye and level two and three create confusion and questions concerning travel plans, employment obligations and official business.”
Rodenberg said he will only declare a snow emergency when conditions are extremely hazardous throughout the entire county and after he has consulted with other public service entities in the county.
Rodenberg encouraged motorists to observe and consider the conditions when deciding whether or not to drive. He said they should determine their level of confidence driving in the conditions and also how important it is for them to reach their destination.
Pam Broughton, director of the Clermont County Emergency Management Agency, said they are encouraging residents to prepare for winter to avoid any emergency situations.
She said they have tips and checklists available on their website including tips for winterizing the home, an emergency kit checklist for the home and vehicle, tips for using alternative heating, and more.
“We are really advocating that people get a weather radio if they don’t already have one,” Broughton said.
For winter weather tips and information visit www.ema.clermontcountyohio.gov.