Winter storm edges past Mid-Ohio Valley

PARKERSBURG – A slushy, snowing morning greeted area residents and commuters Wednesday morning.

Schools throughout the valley were canceled and drivers advised to be cautious on their morning routes after the edge of the winter storm dubbed “Saturn” brushed the area. Streets, yards and trees were covered with a layer of slush and snow, but officials reported few issues as a result of the storm.

Wood County Schools, which was on a planned two-hour delay Wednesday, canceled classes early Wednesday morning.

Schools were closed because of “the iciness of the back roads’ and state road crews “had not yet been to the secondary roads,” said Sue Woodward, assistant superintendent of school services. “Also, it was a timing issue on our part. We were already scheduled on a two-hour delay and we needed to make a decision early enough so parents wouldn’t be traveling when the call came.”

The decision to close schools was made around 5:22 a.m., she said, and by 5:30 a.m. the district’s calling tree was in effect, letting parents and employees know about the closure.

Woodward said the planned collaborative time was canceled, so both teachers and students will see their school year lengthen.

The Wood County Board of Education “should approve a calendar that extends up through June 11 for the students, and the teachers will now work until June 13,” she said. “It will have to be approved by the board.”

Schools were closed in Pleasants and Ritchie counties. Schools in Doddridge and Tyler counties were on a two-hour delay.

In Ohio, Belpre City Schools and Marietta City Schools both operated on a two-hour delay.

Wood County Emergency Management Director Ed Hupp said there were few storm related issues locally.

“We had a few minor accidents but nothing major,” he said. “Over in the mountains they got hammered, but not here.”

Some areas of West Virginia received more than a foot of snow, and half of the state’s school systems were closed Wednesday. Hardest hit were the higher elevations and the upper panhandles. About 20,000 customers in West Virginia were without power Wednesday morning.