PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — Typically when you’re talking about cold weather in West Virginia, Parkersburg isn’t generally the first location which comes to mind. However, this week’s cold spell in West Virginia has pushed Wood County into one of the deepest freezes of any community in the Mountain State.
Temperatures have plunged to 7 and at times 9 degrees below zero in the area. It’s been an extended period of cold weather which has made it difficult for first responders. However, Wood County Emergency Management and 911 Director Rick Woodyard said so far, so good.
“We’ve had very few calls,” he said. “I think the citizenry has really prepared themselves for the weather and the cold.”
The county’s office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management has worked with local media to remind residents to make those preparations. They appear to have worked according to Woodyard who said he’s been in this business for 40 years, but it’s the longest sustained period of cold temperatures he can remember. He added there’s one constant reminder in the region when you look at the Ohio River.
“The river for one of the very few times is actually frozen over,” he explained. “You know it’s cold with the river freezes over.”
Although there have been some house fires, Woodyard didn’t think it was above the normal number for local volunteer fire departments. The biggest issue emergency officials have been addressing have been broken water lines–which included the county facilities.
“Pipe problems and water problems and even the courthouse waterline broke. Maintenance guys had to come in on a Saturday to fix that,” said Woodyard. “Schools have been running on delay, but other than that we haven’t faced a whole lot of issues with the bitter cold.”
Forecasters says the extended period of cold weather and sub zero temperatures will extend into the weekend for Wood County and the rest of West Virginia.