Ice storm damage in Lawrence County prompts visit from governor


LAWRENCE COUNTY, OHIO (WOWK) — Government officials are noticing how hard southeastern Ohio was hit by the storms last week.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine spoke at South Point Middle/High School in Lawrence County Friday after surveying the storm damage in the area.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine came to Lawrence County to survey the ice storm damage. (Photo Courtesy: Governor DeWine’s Office.)

He says they are working closely with local officials to get the situation under control as quickly as possible.

It’s a familiar scene in the area now: roads iced over and slick, downed powerlines, and downed trees making roads impassable.

“It’s been years since I’ve seen an ice storm like this. There’s a lot of damages to the homes and the families and things and they need help.” 

Carla Bates, works in Lawrence County, Ohio

It’s for that reason Ohio Governor Mike DeWine came and toured the area to see what all needed to be done.

“I wanted to see it myself. I wanted to understand. I wanted to be able to put in perspective,” Governor DeWine says, “The big concerns I’ve heard is look, this is just a massive cleanup. I mean, a tremendous amount of work has already been done, by residents of Lawrence County, the county engineer, township trustees; a tremendous amount of work has been done. But there’s a tremendous amount more to be done.” 

DeWine says the top priorities in Lawrence County are cleanup of the township roads—where people may not have the resources to do it on their own—and mitigating flooding.

“It doesn’t take a whole lot in southern Ohio for there to be flooding. And what we don’t want to see in the future is flooding,” DeWine says.

The governor also says he recognizes the power outage crisis.

“We’ve been talking with the power companies: they tell us they’re moving as fast as they can. If I was someone without power, I would not be happy and I fully understand that.”  

Governor Mike DeWine, (R) Ohio
DeWine says he is working closely with local officials to get the cleanup done as quickly as possible. (Photo Courtesy: Governor DeWine’s Office.)

The current situation still has people in the area worried:

“The powermen was in our parking lot, and they told me the other day they don’t know much longer the lines will hold up with the trees leaning on them,” says Carla Bates, who works in Lawrence County.

DeWine assures his trip today was not a one-and-done occasion.

“This is not just me coming down here and leaving. When I get back in the car, I’m going to be on the phone with our team, we’re gonna see what else we can do.” 

Governor Mike DeWine, (R) Ohio

DeWine says they are trying to coordinate with local officials as much as possible, but they are also looking into their National Guard capabilities—like neighboring West Virginia Counties have done—however, there is no word yet on when or if that will happen.

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