GALLIPOLIS — The Gallia County Commissioners declared a state of emergency Monday morning as Gov. John Kasich declared an emergency declaration as well on Saturday for 17 counties bordering the Ohio River.
“We have no persons or things in any danger that we know of from the flooding,” said Commissioner David Smith. “The reason we meet and do this is that as flood waters go down it may reveal we have infrastructure damage, especially roads and those types of things. If that happens, because we’ve declared an emergency, it may allow us to potentially access state funds. We have to declare in order to access those funds.”
“We’ve dodged a bullet,” said Smith. “It’s been a lot worse before and we’ve really lucked out this time. We believe (the water) will not be as high as the previous weekend, which means Gallipolis won’t be isolated. I remember in the 1997 flood it was over on Eastern Avenue in a few places. When people start becoming isolated it becomes a greater emergency.”
According to Smith, he said he remembers during the 1997 flood that water had risen as far as Dairy Queen along Eastern Avenue.
According to Gallia Emergency Management Agency Director Sherry Daines, around 30 roads throughout the county were closed as of Monday morning.
Counties included in the governor’s declaration include Adams, Athens, Belmont, Brown, Clermont, Columbiana, Gallia, Hamilton, Hocking, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Monroe, Meigs, Muskingum, Scioto and Washington.
“Ohioans do a good job of looking out for each other and we’re doing it again now also. Teams at the local level are hard at work and state teams have been coordinating with them and supporting them over the past week. As the weather and flooding is expected to get worse we’re staying ahead of things by taking our readiness up to the next level and declaring an emergency where we expect the worst conditions. We’ll quickly add to those areas as it’s needed. I urge people to stay safe by staying informed, not taking any chances and checking in on your neighbors, especially seniors and families with young kids. Call your local city, county or Red Cross if there’s anyone who needs help. We’ll get through this as we always do, by working together,” said Kasich in a statement.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext 2103.