Sheriff urging caution to motorists

Published 2:35 pm Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lawrence County remained on a Level 2 snow emergency as of 1:30 p.m. Wednesday as area businesses began closing their doors early.

Sheriff Jeff Lawless said he could heighten the emergency to Level 3 — which mandates emergency travel only — if conditions worsen.

The decision will be based on whether the region gets the 2-4 inches of snow some forecasters have predicted or just the dusting of snow forecasted elsewhere, and whether the roadways freeze over night.

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Lawless said the county is right now running the spectrum of weather woes. Water from this morning’s heavy rains is standing in the road on Lawrence Street Road and Hog Run Road. Other roads are slick from the snowfall and ice.

“We went out State Route 141 and it was all we could do to keep the car on the road,” he said. “We will re-evaluate it at 6 p.m. If the roads dry out we may be okay. These snow alerts are meant as a precaution, to alert people to be careful.”

Snow alerts are based on weather conditions, weather forecasts, the number of accidents reported and road conditions reported by law enforcement and the state and county road garages, Lawless said.

Ohio law allows sheriffs to issue weather emergencies due to inclement weather. Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless is advising area residents to stay tuned to news media in case an emergency is issued, impacting travel.

A level 1 snow emergency means roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting snow. Roads may also be icy. Motorists are urged to drive carefully.

A level 2 snow emergency means roadways are hazardous with blowing and drifting. Those who feel it absolutely necessary should be out on the roads. Contact your employer to see if you should report to work.

A level 3 snow emergency means all roadways are closed to all non-emergency personnel. Motorists should not be out on the roadways unless a true emergency exists. All employees should contact their employer to see they should report to work. Those on the roadways may be subject to arrest.

The sheriff’s office handled several minor accidents early in the day Wednesday. Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers reported minor accidents as well.