On Friday, Feb. 19, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine activated the Ohio National Guard to help ensure the safety of Southern Ohio residents impacted by recent ice storms.  

Members of the 1191st Engineer Company in Portsmouth were placed on state active duty Friday afternoon to assist local authorities in Lawrence and Gallia counties with the removal of downed trees that are interfering with work to restore power and are obstructing area ditches, creeks and streams. 

Governor DeWine visited Lawrence County Thursday morning where he toured areas damaged by trees that snapped under the weight of thick ice. 

“Thousands of people in the area are still without power because downed trees are getting in the way of utility crews that are trying to fix the power lines," said Governor DeWine. "By calling in the Ohio National Guard, we can help restore power faster and also prevent future flooding by removing debris from the water before the weather warms up.”

Governor DeWine declared a state of emergency in Lawrence County on Wednesday and amended that proclamation to include Gallia County on Friday. Both counties were heavily impacted by snow and ice storms that hit Southern Ohio both this week and last week.

Other state agencies that have been providing assistance include the Ohio Department of Transportation, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Ohio Department of Administrative Services, and Ohio Emergency Management Agency.

By contrast, both Jackson County and Vinton County were very fortunate. While the snow and ice made for hazardous driving conditions, there were relatively few power outages. In fact, according to two of the major providers, AEP Ohio and Buckeye Rural Electric, there are no current outages in either county.