Freezing rain that arrived between midnight and 7 a.m. Thursday left a coating of ice that broke off tree limbs and dropped electric lines, which in turn caused power outages affecting, at the peak, 1,200 DP&L customers in Clinton County.
While the wintry precipitation glazed over trees and fences, it thankfully did not appear to stick so much to roadways which would have produced hazardous driving conditions.
Clinton County Engineer Jeffrey Linkous said that on Thursday morning there were about 11 county roads partly closed or closed due to fallen limbs or trees. By about 1:10 p.m. Thursday, there were about five county roads left to open up, and the engineer figured all but one would be cleared within an hour.
The exception was Dakins-Chapel Road where there were some power lines in the fallen tree. When there are power lines involved, they wait on the DP&L crew, Linkous said.
There were a lot of limbs and trees that came down from the weight of ice glazed upon them, and even many trees that didn’t break off were hanging lower than normal, he observed.
At 1:40 p.m. Thursday, a DP&L spokeswoman said about 600 of the 1,200 Clinton County customers who lost power had their power restored as of then.
A 12:30 p.m. Thursday message on the DP&L website stated that due to the number of calls, they expected restoration efforts in their Miami Valley service area to go into the weekend.
The same message stated DP&L had about 650 people working to restore power for its customers.
Another message from DP&L stated teams will work around the clock to get all customers back up.
“DP&L is bringing in mutual assistance line and vegetation crews from Indiana to assist,” the company posted.
The company advised residents to stay away from downed lines until crews can make the area safe.
In the six hours between 12:54 a.m. Thursday and 6:54 a.m. Thursday, there was a total of 0.68 inch of precipitation at the Wilmington Air Park, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) in Wilmington.
And according to a series of weather observations for Wilmington found on the NWS website, at 9:54 p.m. Wednesday skies here were overcast. Then at 10:54 and 11:54 p.m. Thursday, “unknown precipitation” was reported. By 12:54 a.m. Thursday, light freezing rain had started.
Between 1:54 a.m. and 4:54 a.m. Thursday, there was freezing rain reported at the air park, along with fog/mist. At 6:54 a.m. Thursday, there again was freezing rain and fog/mist.
In the city of Wilmington on Thursday morning, sections of South Mulberry Street, South South Street, and Fife Avenue in front of the Wilmington College campus were shut down.
Compounding things for workers was a situation in which the beds of some of the larger trucks were already full with road salt, making them unavailable for hauling debris and branches. But the workers were doing the best they could.
Wilmington Ohio State Patrol Post Commander Stan Jordan reported Thursday afternoon there had been a few crashes, “but no more than normal.”
Nevertheless, his troopers were busy with traffic control, ensuring that closed roads stayed closed so motorists didn’t drive over power lines and into fallen tree debris before the roadway was cleared out.
Lt. Jordan believes if the temperature had been a couple degrees colder, the surfaces of local roads would have been “real bad” for motorists.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.