Ice raids parts of county

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 17, 2003

Lawrence County was on ice this weekend after another winter storm ripped through the area, leaving some residents with no electricity and no way to leave their houses.

From the 13-mile marker to the Lawrence/Jackson County line, State Route 93 was closed Monday to traffic because of several down trees, Cecil Townsend, county manager for the Ohio Department of Transportation, said.

Other roads closed because of trees include State Routes 650, 522, 373 and 217, Townsend said. State Route 775 may be impassible as well. State Route 141 also has down trees from the 14-mile marker to the Gallia County line, but may be passable. State Route 218 is closed because of high water.

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The only route in the county having no down trees is U.S. 52, Townsend said.

Trees were not the only hazard with this storm.

"Three to five miles north of the river, roads were virtually impassible because of ice," Townsend said.

The black ice covering those roads was 1-2 inches thick, he said.

Clearing the trees are a priority for ODOT right now, as well as reopening State Route 93, Townsend said. Jackson County workers are also working on the route, moving south as the Lawrence County workers move north. Crews are presently working on all routes in all directions, he said.

Despite the treacherous travel conditions, the Ironton post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol only handled two weather-related crashes, Sgt. Michael Gore said. One crash on Deering-Bald Knob Road, a vehicle slid off the road, and in another on Paddle Creek, a driver struck a down tree. No one was injured in these accidents.

Gore attributed the lack of accidents to people paying attention to weather reports and staying inside.

Another hazard Townsend reported was down power lines.

A according to a statement released by American Electric Power at 10 p.m. Sunday, 9,821 customers in the Ironton area and 676 in the Chesapeake area had no power.

A representative for AEP could not be reached at press time for an update.

Current weather conditions continue to hamper restoration efforts, and because of the extent of the damage and another winter storm hitting the surface area, AEP does not anticipate full restoration of power for all customers until Thursday, the release stated.

The National Weather Service has extended the weekend's winter storm warning until 4 p.m. today. Snow is forecasted until Tuesday night. Milder temperatures in the 40s and 50s are expected later in the week, but rain is still forecasted. This rain, combined with melted ice and snow could cause flooding. A chance of snow is forecasted for this Sunday.