A substantial snowfall from overnight caused various hazards in Fayette County on Tuesday as well as several closures.
On average, the county received 7-8 inches of snow, according to Sheriff Vernon Stanforth. However, different areas will have received different amounts of snow. One household reported to Stanforth it had 13 inches in the front yard Tuesday morning.
“Interestingly enough, we had no wind last night with the snow. So that means the snowfall, the measurement of the snow where ever it’s at, is probably fairly accurate. There was very little drifting,” said Stanforth. “We were fortunate in the weather pattern even though we got a lot of snow yesterday.”
Stanforth explained that if the county had experienced 10-15 mph winds with the snow, it would have caused blizzard-like conditions. Without the wind, the weather wasn’t quite as bad.
Although the county spent a portion of the day Tuesday at a level two snow emergency, it was eventually downgraded to level one.
Both local school districts, Miami Trace Local Schools and Washington Court House City Schools, cancelled school for the day.
The Fayette County Commissioners closed all county buildings with a request for county employees to work from home if they were able.
The COVID-19 vaccination appointments scheduled for Tuesday morning by Fayette County Public Health (FCPH) will be rescheduled. FCPH staff will contact everyone who had an appointment between 9-11 a.m. to reschedule. After consulting with Stanforth, the decision was made to open the COVID vaccine clinic at 11 a.m. Tuesday.
According to Stanforth, there were numerous slide-offs although no serious accidents were reported.
“So far we’ve had people just traveling faster than the road conditions should call for,” said Stanforth. “Even though state limits may be 25 (mph), with road conditions maybe you should be traveling 15-20 (mph) instead. But people see some dry roads and they get going a little faster until, all of a sudden, they hit a slick spot. There’s still black ice under some of the snowfall.”
Stanforth further explained that while roadways, state routes specifically, are getting cleared off quickly, some roads take longer, so people should exercise patience.
“The township roads take longer to get clear because they don’t have the massive amount of equipment the state trucks — ODOT (Ohio Department Of Transportation) — has. They have limited amount of manpower,” said Stanforth.
Those who will be driving in snowy weather conditions should dress warm as if they will be walking through the snow, be prepared to be trapped for at least a couple of hours in case they do slide off and have to wait for a tow truck, should make sure exhaust pipes are ventilated so exhaust fumes aren’t put back into the car, have cell phones charged and have some kind of nutrition such as energy bars, according to Stanforth.
In order to prepare for cold weather, residents should also keep their pets in mind.
Fayette Regional Humane Society Chief Humane Agent and Outreach Director Brad Adams recently shared a video via social media in which he explained, “as temperatures continue to dip down into the single digits, sometimes zero and subzero digits for the next several days with the wind chill,” adequate shelter is important.
If possible, all dogs, cats and small animals should be brought inside to a warm enclosure. If that is not possible, dogs should have adequate housing.
Adequate housing for dogs should include a dog box that is elevated from the ground by at least two inches, have three sides, a roof, and a front door. The door should be just big enough to allow a dog to enter and exit.
“If a door is too wide or too large, it will allow more wind to come inside in cold temperatures,” said Adams.
The house should also have a material that is less destructible or cannot cause a choking hazard over the door for windbreak and to help keep warm air inside.
A bedding such as straw should be used in and around the dog house.
“Do not use blankets or towels. Once they get wet they become frozen, and your dog will become colder,” said Adams.
Outdoor cats or stray community cats that are taken care of that cannot be brought inside a warm enclosure can be provided with adequate housing as well. Adams suggested looking online and on Pinterest as there are numerous ideas for shelters for cats.
“All animals, large or small, if they are confined must have access to adequate shelter to protect them from the elements, according to Ohio law,” said Adams. “I can’t touch base on every animal and their adequate housing, but if you do see an animal of any kind that is confined without adequate housing, please give (FRHS) a call at 740-335-8126.”
Those who do not wish to call can also report an online report that goes directly to Adams’s email: www.fayetteregionalhumane.org/ways-to-help/report-animal-cruelty/. If there is an emergency, the police department or sheriff can be contacted at any time.
Reach journalist Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.