For the first time in several years, the Highland County Sheriff’s Office released a snow advisory last weekend, and Sheriff Donnie Barrera said he plans to continue the practice in cases of inclement weather throughout the winter.
“I’ve been contemplating it since I’ve been in office,” Barrera said Monday. “The Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association changed some wording with snow emergency levels that alleviates some of the pressure from us. Employees are now responsible for calling their employer.”
The sheriff said that in the past, people sometimes used an emergency declaration as a reason not to report to work, or would ask the sheriff’s office to call their employer, clogging up the sheriff’s office phone lines. He said that’s why former Sheriff Ron Ward decided to stop the practice several years ago.
Barrera said he first issued a Level One emergency Saturday, upgraded that to a Level Two, then called the emergency off about 1 p.m. Sunday.
There will be three emergency levels, with level three being the most serious. Each of the levels is described below:
• Level One — A snow alert declaration by the county sheriff is designed to advise motorists of hazardous conditions created by ice and blowing and drifting snow. No roadways are closed, although unnecessary travel is discouraged, but if deemed necessary, extreme caution is urged. Generally, snow is accumulating on the roadway with dropping temperatures that may create dangerous road surfaces.
• Level Two — A snow advisory declaration is a Level Two classification advising motorists that all or certain roadways in the county are hazardous with icy spots and blowing and drifting snow causing low visibility. Only persons who deem it necessary to travel should be on the roadways. The county sheriff urges extreme caution. Employees should contact their employer to determine if they should report to work.
• Level Three — A snow emergency is declared when ice and blowing and drifting snow have created extremely hazardous road conditions. Low visibility, extremely low temperatures, and worsening road conditions have caused the closing of all or certain county roadways to all but emergency and essential persons. No one should be on the roadways unless absolutely necessary. Employees should contact their employers to see if they should report to work. All non-emergency and non-essential personnel traveling the roadways during a Level Three snow emergency may be subject to prosecution under Ohio Revised Code section 2917.13 for misconduct at an emergency.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.