GALLIA COUNTY — Following Gov. Mike DeWine’s state of emergency declaration on Friday, Ohio National Guard personnel arrived in Gallia County to help county and local crews clear trees and debris, as more residents are seeing their electricity restored over a week after a major ice event.
As of press time on Monday, 271 total customers were still without power though that number was decreasing throughout the afternoon in Gallia.
On Sunday, State Rep. Jason Stephens was joined by County Engineer Brett Boothe and Gallia County Commissioners to give an update about the storm damage at the Gallia County Emergency Operations Center.
At that time,Boothe stated all county roads were open and had been treated, even stone roads, though several of those had been dealing with lingering ice — it was hoped with additional screening on those roads and warming Sunday and Monday, this may improve traction.
Boothe stated the National Guard were helping county workers clearing brush and trees from roads and ditches, starting on Sunday on Teens Run Road and Bladen Road.
Like Boothe, Commissioner Eugene Greene, speaking on behalf of the Gallia County Commission, expressed thanks to the National Guard, power crews, state and local officials.
“Your county officials are looking at the devastation to see how we can help,” he said.
Greene also stressed residents check on family members and neighbors. He also stated if residents had any needs regarding the ice storm damage they could call the Gallia Emergency Management Agency at 740-339-6100 or after 5 p.m. call 740-446-3126.
“We’ll do the best we can to get you some help,” Greene said.
Deputy EMA Director Tim Miller said via a statement on the Gallia County EMA’s Facebook page, the guard will be in the county throughout the clean-up efforts, but he did not know how long that could be.
Regarding issuing his state of emergency for both Lawrence and Gallia counties which allowed the National Guard to assist in storm cleanup, Gov. DeWine expressed concern for those without power in the area and how with the guard’s help, he hoped this process could be expedited. In his statement, he also mentioned the guard’s cleanup work in possibly preventing future flooding by removing debris.
As of Monday afternoon, Buckeye Rural Electric Cooperative was reporting a total of 112 customers without power, down from Friday’s outages reported at 585 in Gallia.
According to Buckeye Rural, some of the larger clusters of customers without power were off of Ohio 141 on Flag Spring Road; off of Ohio 790 near Perigen Road and off of Ohio 218 on Rocky Fork Road. Smaller clusters were still scattered throughout southern Gallia.
Buckeye Rural also updated the public via its Facebook page with the following statement, which included concerns over predicted wind gusts on Monday, “Crews were briefed early this morning with today’s project assignments, restocking their trucks with material and fed. Over 130 men with equipment sent on the road to Lawrence and southern Gallia County. The warmer weather will bring some needed relief to members, but also make the ice remaining on some side roads and right-of-way even slicker and eventually muddy. National Guard crews are working in Gallia and Lawrence County, aiding in areas we’ve been unable to access. A special weather statement predicted wind gusts up to 30 mph and that certainly won’t do anything to help the situation. We’ll provide the day’s update later today. With the ice melting, we are sometimes losing ground when the trees and lines lose large sections of ice and they snap back up through the lines or bringing the lines together, causing new outages where we’ve already completed repairs. We’re above 100 broken poles now.”
AEP Ohio was reporting 159 customers without power with the majority of these outages in the Crown City area on Monday. On Friday, AEP Ohio was reporting 221 of its customers without power in Gallia.
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Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.