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As locals dig out, new storm to roll in

By Staff | Feb 8, 2010

A small squadron of North Mill Street residents began clearing out their walkways and parking spaces within one hour of the last flakes falling. Photo by Michael Theis/Chronicle

In the aftermath of the biggest regional snowstorm in decades, state, county and local officials say they are working around the clock to open up as many roads as possible before another winter storm blows in tomorrow.

A winter storm watch is in effect in Jefferson County until 7 p.m. on Wednesday. The National Weather Service predicts seven inches of snow will fall between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday evening. A winter storm watch mean’s there is a potential for significant snow accumulations that may impact travel.

Shepherdstown’s Public Works Director Frank Welch says that the snow removal process has begun in Shepherdstown. The 100 block of North King Street has been cleared. Welch plans on clearing Princess Street between High and German streets next before tackling German Street. Welch said that by Sunday morning, all municipal streets were passable.

Welch also reminded locals to shovel their sidewalks (it’s required by law), but he pleaded with citizens to stop shoveling the snow back onto the street. “Throwing it back onto the road is really hurting us, we don’t need all that aggravation,” said Welch in telephone interview on Monday morning.

Jefferson County Emergency Manager Barbara Miller says that her crews have been working since 7 a.m. Friday morning to coordinate county emergency services. She doesn’t have enough staff to run 12 hour shifts, so she has her employees working in staggered shifts, sleeping on cots set up at the Jefferson County Homeland Security and Emergency Management offices. “Everybody has been working at max capacity.”

Miller also said that emergency services are available for people who are snowed in and low on food or medicine. “If you are running out of supplies, we can get a one day supply to them.” Residents in need of non-emergency assistance should call the Jefferson County Emergency Communications Center at 304-728-6345 for more information.

Lee Thorne is overseeing the snow removal process in the Eastern Panhandle for the West Virginia Division of Highways. He said his department’s focus is on making sure that roads are “passable”, but not clear. “West Virginia doesn’t have a bare roads policy, like some other states do,” said Thorne by phone on Monday, “we don’t guarantee that you’ll drive over a clear road, but we do work to make sure that the roads are passable.”