POINT PLEASANT — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin issued Wednesday a statewide State of Preparedness, while local West Virginia Division of Highways workers, and employees with the City of Point Pleasant, were already well on their way to preparing for what could be a major snowstorm Friday into Saturday.
Tomblin’s issuance of a State of Preparedness mobilizes state resources to help keep West Virginians safe during the severe winter weather predicted to be part of Winter Storm Jonas.
“Many counties across the state are already seeing snowfall, and large amounts of snow are being predicted across the state throughout the weekend,” Gov. Tomblin said. “Because heavy snowfall has the potential to affect so many West Virginians, I have issued a State of Preparedness to mobilize state resources, including the West Virginia National Guard, to address heavy snowfall, high winds and other winter weather forecasted this week.
“As you prepare, I encourage you to talk to your family about what to do and where to go. Remember to check on the elderly and your neighbors and consider a plan to care for household pets.”
In Mason County, workers at the local WVDOH garage were busy both treating roads from Wednesday’s snow event and preparing for this weekend. County Supervisor Ernie Watterson said he had roughly 900 tons of salt on hand to treat roadways, with around 40 men who will be working 12-hour shifts as long as needed. Those men have 14 trucks to treat and plow 900 miles of road in Mason County, which is under the state’s jurisdiction.
WVDOH workers are required to first treat high-priority roads, such as U.S. 35, W.Va. 2, W.Va. 62 and W.Va. 87. These roadways are heavily traveled and connect with secondary roadways which are the next priority, such as (but not limited to), Sandhill Road, Jerrys Run Road, Ashton Upland Road and more like them, and then the drivers can hit gravel roads.
“We do the best we can to maintain 900 miles of road in this county,” Watterson said, adding the drivers will be working hard and patience is appreciated as trucks make their way through what could be a heavy, wet snow event.
An employee with the City of Point Pleasant Street Department said the city has between 38 and 40 tons of salt on hand with around five tons used for Wednesday’s snow event. Around five employees in the street department have access to two pickup trucks with plows and spreaders, one dump truck with a large plow, one backhoe and one ATV Mule with a spreader and plow to help keep the city as safe as possible.
City employees focus on clearing intersections for busy streets, as well as hills, school zones, etc. Of course, the main road through Point Pleasant is W.Va. 62 and is under state jurisdiction with Watterson’s crew treating that roadway.
For updates on the state’s response efforts, including lists of warming stations and shelters, power outages, road closures and weather conditions, visit the state’s official Facebook page for Winter Storm Jonas: www.facebook.com/WVJonas.
Also, residents are reminded to check out various social media applications that are managed by the Mason County Office of Emergency Services. The Emergency Services Office maintains a Twitter account, a Facebook account and a Nixle account. All of these services are free to the public and registration information can be found at www.masoncountyoes.com and selecting the social media forum of interest.
Reach Beth Sergent at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.