MASON COUNTY — Apparently, Punxsutawney Phil was right.
On Sunday, the famous groundhog saw his shadow which traditionally means six more weeks of winter - a winter that keeps hanging on in Mason County.
Sunday evening freezing rain began to move into the area, followed snow which continued to fall into Monday morning, closing schools, the Mason County Courthouse and generally making travel a little more complicated than usual.
Chuck Blake, of Mason County Emergency Management and Mason County EMS, said though the entire county got hit with significant snow, it appeared the further north you traveled, the higher the accumulations. There were 7-8 inches of snow reported in the Bend Area and around 4-5 inches of snow reported in Point Pleasant.
Blake said the snow caused two ambulances to get stuck on level ground - requiring a “shove” to get moving again. Because of the treacherous conditions, all non-emergency transports were canceled by EMS.
Blake said he hasn’t heard any reports of power outages due to the heavy, wet snow and he was concerned about the snow refreezing overnight, making roads even worse. He also said he’d heard reports out of Hartford in the Hanging Rock area that some residents were without water but that, as well as a cause, had not been confirmed as of press time. Blake said if a municipality needed the county’s help in that instance, emergency management would help step in to provide water.
On Monday, Ernie Watterson, Mason County supervisor for the West Virginia Division of Highways, said his staff had been out working since Sunday night and so far this weather event had used around 450 ton of salt to treat the roads - this is about half of what the state road garage keeps on hand. Watterson said the garage still had salt but more had been ordered, adding crews would continue to be on the clock until the roads were cleared.
In the county seat of Point Pleasant, the snow caused trash delivery to be delayed. Mayor Brian Billings said though some customers with a Monday morning trash pickup were serviced, some were not due to treacherous alleys. If your trash wasn’t picked up Monday morning, it should get picked up Tuesday and by Wednesday, the city should be back to its normal schedule in terms of trash disposal. Roads were also too treacherous for the city to haul its garbage to the landfill in Gallia County, Ohio on Monday.
In addition, Point Pleasant momentarily ran out of salt after the snow event, Billings said, but added it had been restocked. He said the city had been utilizing its three trucks with plows and all terrain vehicles to clear snow. The city attempts to hit the backstreets but gives high priority to clearing intersections. W.Va. 62, the main road through Point Pleasant, falls under the jurisdiction of the state to keep clear.
“Regardless of weather, our guys are out there,” Billings said about city crews.