Winter Storm Elliot hit Delaware County last week, cancelling travel plans and causing power outages and traffic crashes throughout the county.
Sean Miller, director of the Delaware County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, reported Tuesday that the storm hit Delaware during the overnight hours of Dec. 22 into Dec. 23.
“Temperatures during this period dropped rapidly and precipitation changed from rain to snow,” Miller said “Roadways and travel were quickly impacted, as was anticipated.”
The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office declared a Level 1 Snow Emergency on Dec. 23 at 1:13 a.m. and upgraded it to a Level 2 a few hours later at 5:23 a.m. The office upgraded to a Level 3 on Dec. 23 at 7:30 p.m. and closed the roads to nonemergency personnel.
The Level 3 was downgraded to a Level 2 on Dec. 24 and was downgraded to a Level 1 on Dec. 25 at 3 p.m. The snow emergency was cancelled Monday at 4:09 p.m.
Patrick Brandt, director of Delaware County Emergency Communications, reported Tuesday that from Dec. 23 to Dec. 26 there were 10 injury crashes, 81 noninjury crashes, one noninjury hit-skip crash, and 120 calls for disabled vehicles within the county. Brandt said disabled vehicles calls were for things like broken down cars or for drivers who slid off the road or were caught in a snow drift.
Miller reported that before, during, and after the storm, the office was coordinating with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Wilmington (Ohio), Delaware County Emergency Communications, the American Red Cross, the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, a Place of Warmth, area libraries, other public safety agencies, electric providers and others.
“This coordination was in an effort to mitigate the impacts of the storm and to share important information,” he said.
Miller added electric providers reported the county had several hundred customers out at any given time during the storm.
“We worked closely with the electric providers to obtain information on estimated times of restoration to ascertain the projected impacts of these outages,” Miller said.
The high winds made measuring snowfall less precise, Miller added, but the NWS reported that Delaware County generally saw 2.5 inches of snow.
Looking ahead, Miller said planning ahead of the next storm is crucial.
“Preparedness, as with any impactful weather event, is key,” he said. “Have a plan for the home, which should include: charged flashlights, cell phones, and working carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. If homeowners use alternate/auxiliary heating sources, they should do so safely by following the manufacturer’s specifications to avoid fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.”
Miller said he recommends residents have three days worth of food, water, and medication on hand during storms because travel might not be an option.
“This is important as travel could be treacherous for a few days while crews work to clear the roads,” he said. “Checking on neighbors can make a huge difference for someone who may be homebound or have functional or access needs. For Delaware County, the worst impacts of this storm were travel related so by staying home, residents could avoid the worst of it.”
Miller added that residents can visit www.delcoalerts.org for notification information about weather events.