Officials are reporting no major injuries from the winter storm this week that blanketed the county in sleet, ice and snow.
Sandy Mackey, deputy director of the Delaware County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said the winter storm that began Wednesday was “interesting” as it switched between sleet, ice pellets, and snow before turning to strictly snow.
All of the public schools within the county closed Thursday and Friday, as did the Ohio Wesleyan University campus, all Delaware County District Library locations, and the Delaware Public Health District offices. Many businesses and government offices also closed their doors Thursday and Friday.
Mackey said the exact amount of snowfall depended on the location within the county, adding the northern part of the county received around 8 inches of snow, while the southern part of the county had more ice than snow, which lowered snowfall to 3 inches.
There were a few power outages within the county during the storm, Mackey said, including an outage of about 1,400 customers with Consolidated Electric on Thursday. Mackey said Friday that other outages occurred but were remedied “promptly,” and the EMA had no requests for shelter on Friday.
Other than a few minor traffic crashes, Mackey said she was not aware of any injuries caused by the storm.
Delaware County Sheriff Russell Martin declared a Level 3 snow emergency on Thursday at 6 p.m., closing the roads for all non-emergency personnel. The previous and only other Level 3 during Martin’s tenure as sheriff occurred in 2019.
Tracy Whited, head of community and media relations at the sheriff’s office, said the office felt the need to elevate the emergency to Level 3 after the continuous snowfall on top of ice worsened road conditions.
“The blowing and drifting snow made visibility dismal,” Whited said Friday. “Also, snowplow trucks are much more effective with fewer drivers on the road. This allows for a quicker and safer clearing of the roadways by the plow truck warriors. And that gets everyone back to their normal routine in a safer and quicker manner.”
Whited said the office had no difficulty with drivers after the Level 3 declaration on Thursday.
“We were not surprised at how well residents and motorists heeded the Level 3 emergency,” Whited said. “We did not issue any tickets, but we did have some motorists who slid off the roadways and into ditches as they attempted to get home (mostly from work).”
At 12:16 p.m. on Friday, Martin downgraded the county to a Level 2 snow emergency before dropping the county to a Level 1 at 4 p.m. As of press time, the county was still under a Level 1 snow emergency.
Delaware Police Capt. Adam Moore said Friday officers did not have to issue any citations to drivers during the Level 3 emergency.
“We observed significant compliance overnight with the Level 3 snow emergency,” he said. “Our operations do not change substantially during extreme weather. We continue to respond to calls for assistance and emergencies. The cold temperatures, ice, and snow do make those responses, at times, more challenging for our personnel.”
Whited praised the work of all the agencies that worked during the storm to keep residents safe.
“The partnership among numerous public servants to ensure everyone’s safety is remarkable,” Whited said. “While we understand that waiting out a Level 3 or not having your neighborhood roads plowed quick enough may be hugely inconvenient, we are measuring success by lives saved, minimal crashes, and a timely return to normalcy.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.