Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Camden County Emergency Management Coordinator Denise Russell reported that the roads remain impassible in most places throughout the county.
"The road still remain impassible," she reported late last night. "We strongly urge the citizens to stay off the roads until Thursday morning to allow our road crews to complete the majority of snow removal operations without issue. Travel conditions remain extremely dangerous."
She also reported that the courthouse and justice center are both closed tomorrow and notifications have been made. In addition, the Camden County Emergency Management Agency also resumed operations at 6 a.m. this morning.
"If my yard stick is correct, we have reached 21 inches of snow here, likely more in the northern outlying areas," she said. "We seem to have been running about two inches shy to reports coming from the Y and V Road areas which hopefully will put us over the historic snowfall of 20 inches in 24 hours in 1995 according to SEMA."
Russell said after compiling final results today she will have an exact amount of snowfall for the area and determine if the Lake Area matched or beat that record.
"We will re-staff the EOC as needed for tomorrow, likely the call volume will increase as folks try moving about," she said. "We anticipate the worst if everyone tries to drive too soon. Again, roads continue to be impassible. Travel is dangerous. Emergency crews are champions as are our own road crews and MoDOT."
However on Tuesday, Russell reported Camden County residents were prepared and staying at home during what is the biggest snow storm in of the 21st century.
“We have not received any calls for public assistance,” said Russell at 9:45 a.m. Tuesday morning. “That shows us people are prepared and that is our goal. We use that as a measurement in how high the need is in our area, so we give a big kudos to the Lake Area for getting ready for this storm.”
Russell said their department is calling “their own personal snow-mageddon,” and she reiterated that, at Tuesday morning when she first spoke with The Lake Today, it is only the very beginning.
“We are still in the ‘OK’ however, the worst is moving in later (Tuesday),” she said. “We are fully staffed and likely to be available 24 hours into (today). The Sheriff’s Department is on emergency calls only and hardly anyone is not out traveling, which is good.”
Russell said the blizzard warning remained the same Tuesday as reported on Monday. She said her agency goes by and report to the National Weather Service (NWS), adding that some news agencies reported 12-20 inches of snow but they go by the NWS.
“We tend to go with the ‘pros,’” she added. “Thankfully, we have had no power outages reported so far either (Tuesday morning). Luckily we escaped the ice conditions for this area but did see about ¾ of an inch of sleet (Tuesday) morning between 2:30-8 a.m. It converted to snow and when I talked with the NWS (Tuesday) morning, they reported we might see some additional sleet, but it will primarily go to snow. With no major ice accumulation, we are hopeful no power outages will be reported.”
Russell said that county and state road crews are out and doing the best they can, taking care of roads as needed. She said per a conversation Tuesday morning with MoDOT that as white out conditions became increased into Tuesday afternoon, state and county crews will suspend operations for a period of time.
“If they can’t see, they can’t plow. They are putting themselves at risk over the snow,” she said. “The largest accumulation is going to hamper the area in sheer volume, which makes it near impossible to keep good cleared roads. (As of Tuesday morning) MoDOT showed completely covered roadways throughout the state and all county roads are covered.”
Through the storm, which is expected to cease this morning, Russell said eight department staff and volunteers are working 24 hours to ensure emergencies are handled and resources can quickly get to those who may later be in need. She said the Camden County Emergency Management Agency has been in contact with the state’s emergency management department said they will make themselves available to the Lake Area to help make services operational if needed.
“The eight of us, so far, are handling a variety of issues coming our way and currently assisting road and bridge crews during this portion of the storm (Tuesday morning). Luckily, assistance and emergencies have been extremely minimal,” she said. “We have ample resources on standby for emergencies, as well.”
Russell said the Camden County Sheriff’s Department is running emergency calls only and the Camden County Courthouse and Justice Center were closed Tuesday in Camdenton, which may not be open today.
Russell said for now, she continues to encourage residents to do what most are doing – stay at home.
“Do not go out unless it is absolutely necessary; it is too dangerous to go out,” she said. “Most of the medical clinics are closed and appointments can be rescheduled. If you go out, you are taking your own life in your hands.”
The Camden County Emergency Management Agency will coordinate for warming centers/sleeping shelters should they be needed; those will be announced by all public media access as is necessary.
In the event someone does need assistance, they should contact the Camden County Office of Emergency Management at 573-346-7108.
The criteria for sheltering includes wide-spread loss of power, 10 or more families in need, and medical or elderly in need (on case by case basis).