WAPAKONETA – Auglaize County Sheriff Michael Vorhees announced Jan. 25 that the county had put in place a three tier standardized winter road condition advisory levels.
“These new condition levels bring Auglaize County in line with other Ohio counties in reporting road conditions,” Vorhees said. “It helps people coming in or out of the county to understand traffic conditions here.”
Since taking on the role of sheriff Jan. 1, Vorhees said he has been evaluating all procedures before considering any changes, including official road advisories. However, the impending storm this week caused him to update the road advisories method as the first alternation to department procedures.
“Since it is January in Ohio,” he said, “we came up with the decision pretty quick (to go to a three tier advisory system).” In the next few weeks, Vorhees said “To advise the public of what level we are on, we are expecting to have button on the sheriff’s web site.”
According to the sheriff’s website, since this is a county wide road condition report, it was recommended that “localized geographical areas within the county may experience better — or worse — road conditions then those listed in each advisory level.”
As a result, he said, “Please monitor weather forecasts and/or information broadcast over or printed in local media outlets before you determine whether to venture out on the roadways.”
He did ask that do not call the Sheriff’s Office to make general inquiries about road conditions since the dispatchers are very busy, especially during a winter storm.
The levels take into account specific conditions. For example, Level 1 indicates roadways are hazardous due to accumulated snow or ice and may become slippery in spots.
Level 2 means roadways are hazardous due to blowing and drifting snow and/or ice cover. This means that only those who believe it is necessary to drive should be on the roadways. The sheriff suggests people contact their employer to determine if they should report to work.
Level 3 means roadways are closed to all non-emergency travel due to extremely hazardous conditions. No one should be on the roadway unless it is absolutely essential to travel. Those operating vehicles on the roadway for non-emergency reasons may be subject to arrest.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.