Snow causes several car accidents

PARKERSBURG – A quick snowstorm surprised the Parkersburg area Monday, causing hazardous driving conditions and several accidents.

Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell said public works crews try to remain on top of the impending weather conditions but some storms are hard to gauge.

“We knew it was coming, but (the snow) fell quicker than everyone expected,” Newell said Monday night. “The roads are slippery.”

Newell said city crews hope to repair some of the city’s potholes with the prediction of warmer weather by the end of the week.

“These kinds of events it’s hard to keep ahead,” he said. “Hopefully, we can get things cleaned up and holes patched and get ready for the next one.”

Rick Lemley, public works director for the city of Parkersburg, said crews were tending to the streets Monday evening. “We started early treating roads,” he said.

Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp said city crews were out in full force Monday. He said officials knew the snowstorm was coming but like many places in the valley they were trying to keep ahead of it.

“We have five road crews out,” he said Monday. “About 5 p.m. this afternoon it wasn’t too bad; by 5:45 it was really slick so it did come on quick.”

Ken Batty, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Charleston, said most of the snow – 1 to 3 inches on Monday – is expected to taper off by Thursday.

Fast-moving weather systems have produced snowy and icy conditions in the Mid-Ohio Valley but by the end of the work week residents should see temperatures on the rise, Batty said. Thursday and Friday’s highs will be in the low to high 40s, he said.

“We don’t have any real severe cold coming in (to the valley),” he said of the rest of the week. “Each cold pattern brought basically one to three inches.”

Temperatures today and Wednesday are expected to be in the low to mid 30s.

Batty said motorists should always be careful on untreated surfaces and the recent storms are no exception.

Reports of traffic accidents came in from across the valley, officials said.

Parkersburg Fire Chief Eric Taylor said first responders arrived at an accident at 824 Lakeview Drive in front of Lakeview Estates at 6 p.m. Taylor said one person was transported by EMS.

Lt. G.D. Miller with the Parkersburg Police Department said city police responded to numerous incidents of cars ending up in ditches. He said two crash reports were taken within the city limits as of Monday night, with only the crash on Lakeview Drive resulting in an injury. No details were immediately available, he said.

“We had many that came in as a wreck where someone slid off the road into a ditch,” Miller said. “We had one with injury; the rest were just minor (crashes).”

Vienna Police Chief George Young said police responded to about two accidents where cars slid into ditches. He said no damage and no injuries were reported Monday night.

Other accidents took place on Emerson Avenue, Rosemar Road, Murdoch Avenue, Gihon Road in Parkersburg and Staunton Turnpike in Wood County. Areas of Interstate 77 reported accidents around the 169 and 181 mileposts, officials said.

Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks said the county was on a Level 2 snow emergency for Monday night.

“We are seeing mostly frozen surfaces and they are pretty slippery,” he said of road conditions Monday. “If you have to go to work check with your employer.”

Mincks said the severity of the snow emergency was to give salt trucks and snow plows access to clear off the roads.

“It’s to get people off roads so trucks can do their jobs more efficiently,” he said. “We’ve seen quite a few accidents; just small fender benders.”

No major accidents or injuries were reported, he said.

A dispatcher with the West Virginia State Police in Parkersburg said officers had been out responding to accidents all night on Monday. She said no information on the accidents was immediately available but police were staying busy with the large demand.

Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly issued a Level 1 snow emergency around 5:20 p.m. Monday. He said roads were beginning to get snow covered and all drivers should use caution.

A Level 1 means roads are hazardous, icy with blowing and drifting snow.

Marietta and Belpre city schools are closed today. No parent-teacher conferences will be held tonight in Marietta, school officials said. Schools in Pleasants, Ritchie and Tyler counties are closed today.