A list of Critical Facilities is located in Exhibit A. See Exhibit R for a map of locations of Critical Facilities.
Two new Critical Facilities (Washington Township and Marion Township Volunteer Fire Departments) are in the planning and building process. Neither facility is located in an area vulnerable to any natural hazards.
The only critical facilities vulnerable to any type of natural hazard are: Good Hope Volunteer Fire Department, Laurelville Fire Department, Murray City Fire Department, and the Laurelville Marshall’s office. These facilities can be subject to flooding but otherwise are not vulnerable to any other natural hazards of Hocking County.
*Exhibit B has additional statistics for Hocking County including: Education, Manufacturing, Transportation and Housing, Population by Government Units, Commuting, Economic Structure, and Census of Agriculture. Information provided in this section was gathered through the sources mentioned above as well as from the National Flood Insurance Plan, the Hocking County Comprehensive Plan (which is currently being updated), the Hocking County Emergency Operations Plan, and information gathered from the Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism Advisory Team, etc.
Natural Hazards in Hocking County
Hocking County is susceptible to a variety of natural hazards, which include: dam failure, drought, earthquakes, expansive soils, extreme heat, floods, hailstorms, land subsidence, landslides, severe winter storms, tornadoes, wildfires, windstorms, insect damage, and thunder storms. On page 5 of this document, you will note that the Core Group reduced the list from Task A to the list in Task B. The natural hazards listed in Task A but not included in Task B (earthquake, hail storm, land slide, tornado and insect damage) were eliminated by the group due to limited or no occurrence in Hocking County in recorded history and will not be discussed further in this document. The following items identified in Task B will be discussed further: dam failure, drought, extreme heat, flood, land subsidence, severe winter storm, wildfire, wind storm, and thunder storm.
Estimation of losses was based on the fact that contents are normally rated at 50 percent of the value of a structure. Flooding on the first floor damages are estimated at 10 percent of the content value from experience in evaluating flood damages in Ohio. For estimating purposes, flooding damages to yards and outdoor equipment are less than one percent of the structure value. Therefore for wind damage, general flooding and other storm related damages a one percent of structure value gives a reasonable estimate of potential losses.
Since January 1, 1964, excluding insurance, federally declared disasters in Ohio have cost more than $433 million dollars. Hocking County has been declared a disaster seven times during the time period from 1964 to June 3, 2004. (See Exhibit C for map)
March 14, 2003
Snow and Ice Storm
40.9 Million (Total for 30 Counties impacted)
March 4, 1997
Flash Flooding, Ohio River Flooding
68.2 Million (Total for 16 Counties impacted)
June 24, 1996
Severe storms and flooding
14.7 Million (Total for 15 Counties impacted)
June 6, 1990
Severe Storms, Tornadoes and Flooding
$20.1 Million (Total for 25 Counties impacted)
January 26, 1978
$3.5 Million (Total for 88 Counties impacted (entire state))
June 5, 1968
$600,000 (Total for 30 Counties impacted)
March 24, 1964
$571,000 (Total for 47 Counties impacted)
(Ohio Emergency Management Agency)
NCDC-NOAA records show there have been 139 weather related events reported in Hocking County from January 1, 1950 through February 29, 2004. (See Exhibit D for a list.)
This Hazard Assessment will be identifying the natural hazards present in Hocking County including a profile of hazard events, and vulnerability and estimated losses. Refer to the Exhibits as needed for maps, hazard events, and statistical information about the county. The hazards that are listed in this document are listed in alphabetical order however, it does not reflect the order of importance the hazard presents.
While most risks are common to the entire county, some risks are unique to certain areas.
The chart below will identify risks for each jurisdiction and whether they are common to the entire county or unique to certain areas.
Severe Winter Storm
C = Common U = Unique N = No Risk
2.1 Dam Failure Profile of Hazard Events Although there has never been a dam that has failed that has caused significant damage in Hocking County, the region is susceptible to a dam failure but the probability is low. Loss of life and property damage are the two main concerns with this hazard. There are seven Class I, six Cass II, and six Class III dams located within Hocking County. The map Hocking County Dams shows the locations of Class I, II, and III dams located within the county (refer to Exhibit E for map).
According to Ohio Administrative Code Rule 1501:21-13-01, dams are classified as follows:
Class I: A dam shall be placed in Class I when failure of the dam would result in probable loss of human life. Dams having a storage volume greater than five thousand acre-feet or a height of greater than sixty feet shall be placed in Class I.
Class II: Dams having a storage volume greater than five hundred acre-feet or a height of greater than forty feet shall be placed in Class II. A Dam shall be placed in Class II when failure of the dam would result in at least one of the following conditions, but loss of human life is not envisioned.
A possible Health Hazard, including but not limited to loss of a public water supply or wastewater treatment facility.
Probable loss of high-value property, including but not limited to flooding or residential, commercial, industrial, publicly owned, and/or valuable agricultural structures, structural damage to downstream Class I, II or III dams, dikes or levees, or other dams, dikes or levees of high value.
Damage to major roads including but not limited to interstate and state highways, and roads which provide the only access to residential or other critical areas such as hospitals, nursing homes, or correctional facilities as determined by the chief.
Damage to railroads, or public utilities.
Class III: Dams having a height of greater than twenty-five feet, or a storage volume of greater than fifty acre-feet, shall be placed in Class III. A dam shall be placed in Class III when failure of the dam would result in at least one of the following conditions, but loss of human life or hazard to health is not envisioned.
Property losses including but not limited to rural buildings not otherwise listed as high-value property in paragraph a) of this rule, and Class IV dams, dikes and levees not otherwise listed as high-value property in paragraph a) of this rule. At the request of the dam owner, the chief may exempt dams from the criterion of this paragraph if the dam owner owns the potentially affected property.
Local roads including but not limited to roads not otherwise listed as major roads in paragraph a) of this rule.
Class IV: When failure of the dam would result in property losses restricted mainly to the dam and rural lands, and no loss of human life or hazard to health is envisioned, the dam may be placed in Class IV. Dams which are twenty-five feet or less in height and have a storage volume of fifty acre-feet or less, may be placed in Class IV. No proposed dam shall be placed in Class IV unless the applicant has submitted the preliminary design report required by Rule 1501:21-5-02 of the Administrative Code. Class IV dams are exempt from the permit requirements of Section 1521.06 of the Revised Code pursuant to Paragraph c) of Rule 1501:21-19-01 of the Administrative Code.
(Definitions from ODNR-Division of Water)
Dam failure: Catastrophic type of failure characterized by the sudden, rapid and uncontrolled release of impounded water. It is recognized that there are lesser degrees of failure and that any malfunction or abnormality outside the design assumptions and parameters which adversely affect a dam’s primary function of impounding water is properly considered a failure. Such lesser degrees of failure can progressively lead to or heighten the risk of a catastrophic failure. (Definition from FEMA)
Vulnerability and Estimate Losses
Hocking County’s vulnerability to dam failure is moderate. Even though there are only 19 dams that fall under Class I, II or III classifications, there are a large number of smaller dams throughout the county, the structures have potential for failure due to old age and debris congestion. Surrounding structures located within the county are susceptible to major flooding with the potential for loss of life and damage to a variety of structures. There are 48 structures located below the seven Class I dams, 36 structures located below the five Class II dams, and 45 structures located below the seven Class III dams, for a total of 129 identified structures downstream of classified dams. If a dam would happen to fail, and there was a 1% loss/damage to structures, bridges and utilities, it is estimated that there would be approximately $1,296,000 worth of damage.
Profile of Hazard Events
Drought is a concern for Hocking County. Even though the county is at low risk for drought conditions currently, the potential is very realistic. The drought in July and August of 1999 affected the agriculture of Hocking County tremendously.
Drought: A period of unusually persistent dry weather that persists long enough to cause serious problems such as crop damage and/or water supply shortages. The severity of the drought depends upon the degree of moisture deficiency, the duration, and the size of the affected area. There are four different ways that drought can be defined.
Meteorological: a measure of departure of precipitation from normal. Due to climatic differences, what might be considered a drought in one location of the country may not be a drought in another.
Agricultural: refers to a situation where the amount of moisture in the soil no longer meets the needs of a particular crop.
Hydrological: occurs when surface and subsurface water supplies are below normal.
Socioeconomic: refers to the situation that occurs when physical water shortages begin to affect people.
(Definitions from NOAA.)
According to the NCDC, Hocking County has had two documented droughts since 1950.
Location or County
1 Hocking County
2 Hocking County
July 1, 1999 – Dry conditions that began in the spring and early summer continued into July. Excessive heat contributed to substantial crop loss across much of the Buckeye State. Rainfall was widely scattered and did little to help farmers. Crop damage amounts were not available at this time.
August 1, 1999 – Drought conditions continued across the Ohio Valley through August with most areas receiving well below normal rainfall for the month. In some areas about 50% of crops and 75% of hay and pastureland were considered total losses. Most counties in southwest Ohio were declared Federal Disaster Areas by the US Department of Agriculture. At the time of this writing, no monetary estimates were available concerning crop loss. In September, 1999, Ohio Governor Bob Taft initiated a $5 million program for emergency hay/forage assistance and development of water sources for drought-stricken livestock producers in Ohio. Hocking County producers received $16,357 in assistance.
In 2002, the state’s forests were affected by drought and other weather conditions. For the 12-month period, precipitation was near normal. However, a severe drought affected Ohio during the 2002-growing season. Many places in central and southern Ohio received less than 50% of normal precipitation amounts during June, July and August. The drought opened the door to secondary insects, which have already caused tree mortality and will likely continue to affect trees for a few more years. Recently planted trees and trees in Ohio’s urban forests were the most likely to be severely affected. Precipitation is critical to the growth and health of trees and forests. Both quantity and timing of precipitation is important. As an example, receiving a “normal” amount of rainfall in a given year may be of little value if it occurs in a few very heavy storm events compared to a number of smaller rainfall events through the growing season. (ODNR-Division of Forestry)
The U.S. Drought Monitor (See Exhibit F) shows that Hocking County is not currently at risk for a drought, nor is it expected to be at a great risk of a drought during the next year, due to the area currently having extremely moist conditions (see Exhibit G for Palmer Drought Index Forecast). The last two years in Hocking County have been extremely unusual with well above average rainfalls in the spring.
Vulnerability and Estimated Losses
According to the 2000 Census, there are 560 farms in Hocking County covering 64,000 acres with total cash receipts of $4,130,000. Drought can have a major impact on these farms and the income they provide.
According to the 2000 Census, 198,855 acres of Hocking County is forested. This is almost 74 percent of the land in the county. The forests provide a major part of the county’s income through tourism. According to an article in the Logan Daily News on February 27, 2004, traveler expenditures in 2001 totaled $153.6 million. Hocking County is the home of the Hocking State Forest, Hocking Hills State Parks and portions of the Wayne National Forest and Clear Creek Metro Park. These forests and parks cover approximately 39,617 acres. Drought can have a severe affect on the forests thus impacting the tourism industry of the county and the income it provides. Drought also greatly increases the risk of wildfire, which is the County’s number 1 hazard. See Section 2.8 for further information on wildfire. It can also have an impact on the county through water shortages which could affect supplies needed for industry, fire protection, residential use, and recreational use.
Losses during a drought would include loss of crops, forestry resources and income from tourism. The estimated loss due to drought (not including wildfire losses) at 2 percent would be $8,005,150.
Profile of Hazard Events
Hocking County has had one Excessive Heat event recorded in the NCDC-NOAA records since 1950.
Extreme Heat: Temperatures that hover 10 degrees or more above the average high temperature for the region and lasts for several weeks. Humid or muggy conditions, which add to the discomfort of high temperatures, occur when a “dome” of high atmospheric pressure traps hazy, damp air near the ground. Exceedingly great or severe state of being hot in which the temperature is raised. A heat wave combined with drought conditions is a very dangerous situation. (FEMA)
Location or County
The last part of July, 1999, was very hot and humid across the state with temperatures reaching into the 90s most days and above 100 for a few days. The dew points and overnight lows were in the 70s through much of the period. The excessive heat contributed to 10 deaths in the Cincinnati metro area and 3 in the Dayton metro area (ncdc.noaa.gov).
Vulnerability and Estimated Losses Based on past history and facts gathered, the probability of an extreme heat event in Hocking County is low. Extreme heat can affect the majority of the states throughout the United States, and Hocking County is no exception. Being a countywide hazard, the main concern is how the public will react/respond to the hazard, as well as their awareness of what to do if extreme heat plagues the county. Extreme heat can cause increased demand for water and electricity that may result in shortages of resources. Extreme heat across the southern part of Ohio has claimed 13 lives. With a 1% loss to the county loss estimate value would be $32,774,000.
Profile of Hazard Events
(See Exhibit D for NCDC flood history) (See Exhibits I, J and K for flood plain maps of high potential loss areas.)
Flood: A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land or of two or more properties from: overflow of inland or tidal waves, unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source, or a mudflow. (FEMA)
Flash Flood: A flood event (caused by heavy rainfall) occurring with little or no warning where water levels rise at an extremely fast rate.
July 25, 1994 – Flash Flood - Several thunderstorms, one after another, brought heavy rains and flooding of streets, small streams, and poor drainage areas.
March 2, 1997 – Flooding - Heavy rainfall on the 1st and 2nd caused the Hocking River at Enterprise to rise out of its banks. U.S. Route 33 and State Route 93 were flooded as well as numerous low lying roads in Sugar Grove. Rockbridge Elementary School and several nearby homes were flooded. The river reached a crest of 15.1 feet – flood stage is 12 feet. Property damage was estimated at $1 million. (NCDC) The Logan Daily News reported that the Governor declared Hocking County a disaster area due to heavy flooding. Rain on March 1 and 2 dumped up to 10 inches of rain on a 14 county area in Southern Ohio. One house was raised off it’s foundation on State Route 328. There were numerous county roads considered unusable due to the heavy rain. Chestnut Grove Road in Benton Township was washed clear out up to the bridge. The Southeast part of the county was hit the hardest. Several residents were forced out of their homes in South Bloomingville. Railroad and Columbus Streets in Murray City were damaged. Wagner Road in Perry Township was closed due to damage on a bridge. President Clinton officially declared Hocking County and 15 other Southern Ohio Counties as federal disaster areas on March 6. Preliminary road damage estimates from the Hocking County Engineer’s Office were $400,000.
August 18, 1997 – Flooding – Over 6 inches of rain fell across parts of central Ohio on August 17. The Hocking River at Enterprise was estimated to crest at 14.5 feet (flood stage is 12 feet). Numerous area roads were flooded and several evacuations occurred. (NCDC) The Logan Daily News reported that the Hocking County Commissioners declared Hocking County a disaster on August 18. Hardest hit areas included: the Dicken Addition, the Murray City area, and the unincorporated area of Greendale. The County Highway Department had 2 feet of water in their building damaging furniture, computers and equipment. Businesses in Logan affected included: Selkirk Metalbestos which had to close, and the businesses along Radio Lane including WLGN radio station. Several people had to leave their homes in Logan and Murray City and 14 people had to be evacuated in the Greendale and Murray City areas. The Logan Police Department reported they had 24 residents and businesses file reports with various levels of damage. The Governor declared a State of Emergency on August 20. Preliminary assessments conducted by state and local personnel indicated 124 homes were damaged and indicated 44 homes sustained major damage or were destroyed. The flooding was wide-spread with damage reports from Murray City, Rockbridge, South Bloomingville and Logan (Dicken Addition hardest hit in Logan).
January 7-8, 1998 – Flooding - 7th - Several hours of heavy rainfall caused water to flood across county roads. Six roads were closed and several cars were trapped in over 3 feet of water. 8th - From 2 to locally 4 inches of rain fell across Central Ohio causing the Hocking River at Enterprise to rise out of its banks. The river crested around 13.5 feet on the 9th causing water to spill onto State Route 93 near Logan. Flood stage is 12 feet.
April 11, 2001 – Flood – Heavy rainfall caused the Hocking River at Enterprise to overflow its banks. The river crested at 15.3 feet – flood stage is 12.0 feet. U.S. Highway 33 and some homes in Rockbridge were flooded. (NCDC) The Logan Daily News reported that the torrential rains left 5 feet of water at some points for authorities and residents to clean up. Some major roads in the area were closed. Several residents at Greendale had to be evacuated by boat. Several hours of heavy rainfall caused water to flood across county roads. Six roads were closed and several cars were trapped in over 3 feet of water. Old Town Creek flooded the Hocking County Engineer’s Office and Maintenance Garage. Parts of Rockbridge were still covered with water on the 9th. The storms removed a total of 6 bridges in the Old Man’s Cave State Park Gorge and caused major erosion along the creek banks that will have to be filled in before the bridges can be reconstructed. The ramps that lead to the newly constructed steel bridge at the entrance to Conkle’s Hollow were declared unsafe – the ramps were moved 5 feet from their original location.
April, 2000 – Salt Creek Township experienced flooding. Conrad and Sam’s Creek Roads were closed for a few days. Heavy damage was done to many roads, especially Lively, Deihl, Sam’s Creek, Crawford, Coldbranch, Election Roads and more. Drainage culverts were washed out or badly damaged.
May, 2001 – The Laurelville and Salt Creek area was again flooded. Seven private bridges were destroyed. These residents were not eligible for any disaster funds. These bridges were all located on Sam’s Creek Road. Many of the same roads, as in April, 2000, were heavily damaged. The main trunk of the Laurelville sewer line was jeopardized due to the flood waters of Salt Creek cutting a new channel very close to the sewer line. The Corp. of Engineers and the Hocking County Engineer both worked and repaired this damage.
July, 2002 – Salt Creek Township, Laurelville, and Perry Township were declared disaster areas. Laurelville had extensive damage to the levee. Village Park was filled with debris and was closed. Homes and businesses were damaged. Perry Township had several roads closed due to the flooding. Berms and culverts were damaged on several roads. Salt Creek had roads temporarily closed due to debris and washout. Culverts were damaged and destroyed. Homes were damaged. Sections of roads became sink holes.
State Route 56 was closed near Haynes because of high water. Several homes were evacuated in Laurelville, with many vehicles in the area under three to four feet of water.
May 12, 2003 – Culvert and road damage to many of the same roads as in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Conrad, East Fork, Blue Creek Roads, etc.
May, 2004 – Flooding in Green, Marion and Ward Townships. Approximately 20 homes with water damage, most in Murray City. Numerous private bridges were damaged. Severe damage to culverts and road surfaces. Most homes on State Route 595 in Greendale had severe water damage – approximately 10 homes.
January, 2005 – Severe flooding from the Hocking River – worst flooding since 1964. Roads were closed county wide. Families were evacuated in Rockbridge and West Logan. The Red Cross opened a shelter. Over 60 residents suffered water damage. There was road damage in Ward Township and the area was closed for days. Road damage was reported by four townships. The County Engineer and Mayor of Logan responded to damages to Mingo Park and the water plant. Murray City had minor road and home damage. The Hocking County Commissioners reported damage to the lift stations in Haydenville and Rockbridge.
The Flood Insurance Study put out by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) shows the lower reaches of the Hocking River have very broad, nearly level floodplains adjacent to nearly level glacial outwash terraces. These low-lying areas are subject to frequent flood damage. The wide flat floodplain of the Snow Fork Creek and Salt Creek constitute a large area of flood-prone land.
The most frequent flooding occurs in Hocking County during the winter and early spring. Areas that flood most frequently are the Laurelville, Murray City, Rockbridge, Enterprise and Carbon Hill areas.
In the Hocking River watershed, flooding equivalent to the 10-year rainfall occurred on March 4, 1963, and May 27, 1968. The floods that occurred on January 21, 1959; April 2, 1970; February 23, 1975; and July 23, 1976 are comparable to the 2-year recurrence interval. The storm on June 19, 1978, passed to the north around most of the watershed. The rain that fell in the watershed caused considerable flooding along the Ohio Canal at Hooker. Flooding in this area was comparable to the 10-year recurrence interval. Flooding from the above storms caused damage to agricultural field, roads, and lawns.
Flooding has historically been a major water resource problem in the Rush Creek watershed. Periodic flooding damages crops, pastures, urban areas, and transportation systems. Floods causing serious, widespread damage have occurred in March 1907, March 1913, August 1935, January 1937, April 1940, June 1950, March 1963, and March 1964. In recent years, major floods of somewhat lesser magnitude were experienced in June 1958, January 1959, May 1961, and February 1965.
The storms of March 1963 and March 1964 resulted in the highest stages ever recorded in the Bremen area. The Magnitude of the 1963 flood in terms of precipitation was equivalent to a 30-year frequency storm; however, the discharges approached the equivalent of a 100-year frequency. Damage in Bremen in 1963 was estimated at $500,000. About 170 head of livestock drowned on farms located south of town. In addition, it was estimated that damages to roads, railroads, and bridges amounted to $120,000.
Vulnerability and Estimated Losses Flooding is the biggest hazard for the entire state of Ohio. Hocking County has seen its share of flooding in many areas which include but are not limited to: Logan, Laurelville, Murray City, Rockbridge, Enterprise, and Carbon Hill, with some areas being declared Federal Disaster areas. As of February, 2004, there has been one death associated with flooding. Flooding is a countywide hazard and Hocking County is vulnerable in all areas and locations. Neighborhoods with repetitive loss from flooding include: the Village of Laurelville, the Village of Murray City, Rockbridge (located in Good Hope Township), and areas in Salt Creek Township. Based on past history, National Flood Insurance Plan and Flood Plain Maps, the probability of damage from flooding in Hocking County is medium to high. Below is a list of structures and their values located in the Floodway and Floodplains. (Floodplain maps are available at the Hocking County Regional Planning Office.)
Summary of Properties Located in the Flood Plain
(All numbers and values are approximate)
Value of Commercial/Industrial
Total Value of Structures
Village of Laurelville
Village of Murray City
(Hocking County Regional Planning Office)
With a total of 99 structures sitting inside the floodplain/floodway there is an estimated loss of $1,596,040 if 20% of structures were affected.
Land Subsidence (Mine Subsidence) Profile of Hazard Events Abandoned underground mines are found in 44 counties in Ohio. When buildings are constructed above mines, major damage to walls and foundations can occur if the mine shaft collapses. Most insurance policies do not automatically cover damage to your home due to mine subsidence. The Ohio Legislature enacted a law in October, 1987 that established the Ohio Mine Subsidence Insurance Fund. The Mine Subsidence Insurance Fund provides low cost insurance coverage in 37 Ohio counties for homes damaged due to mine subsidence. Insurance coverage is mandatory in 27 of the 37 counties. Hocking County is one of the counties in which mine subsidence insurance coverage is mandatory. (See Exhibit L for map)
The Hocking County Regional Planning Office is aware of a mine subsidence incident which occurred at the General Clay Plant at Diamond in Starr Township. General Clay experienced the loss of a D9 dozer in a collapse of an underground mine cavity.
The Hocking Soil and Water Conservation District has received several calls from county residents concerning sink holes in yards and fields surrounding home sites.
Mine Subsidence: The lowering of the earth’s surface due to the deterioration and collapse of rock into underground mines.
Vulnerability and Estimate of Losses Land subsidence does not pose a big threat to the entire county, but is a serious threat in Falls Gore Township, Green Township, Starr Township and especially Ward Township where there has been heavy mining activity and there are a large number of abandoned underground mines. The entire Village of Murray City with potentially 200 structures is at high risk of damage from land subsidence. (See Exhibit M for map. It is noted that not all mines are mapped, particularly old mines dating to pre-1874.) This part of the county is considered high risk and the risk will only get greater as time passes. Subsidence seems to be increasing owing to the age of underground mines. The ultimate extent of mine-subsidence in Ohio is uncertain. Due to the complexity of the variables which contribute to mine-related subsidence, no acceptable system exists which is capable of accurately predicting the time or amount of subsidence in a variety of geological settings, especially for mines that have an irregular pattern of room-and-pillar mining. Mine subsidence can strike with little or no warning and can result in very costly damage. Hocking County has seen an increasing number of people starting to develop abandoned mineland. As these areas are developed, the risk of damage will increase. With a 1% damage estimate, Hocking County could see a loss of $2,710,000. (ODNR and Ohio Mine Subsidence Insurance Underwriting Association/Ohio Insurance Institute)
Detailed maps are being incorporated into the updated Hocking County Comprehensive Plan for affected townships and a detailed discussion on risks and vulnerability are being included in the comprehensive plan.
Severe Winter Storm
Profile of Hazard Events
(see Exhibit D for NCDC severe winter storm history)
January, 1978 – Hocking County: An inch of rain followed by 6 inches of snow, with blinding winds and temperatures tumbled all the way from a balmy 52 degrees on January 8 to an overnight low of 8 degrees. Driving conditions were described as nightmarish. Area highways were reduced to one lane tracks, and in some places roadways were obliterated altogether by snow drifts. By noon on the 9th all state routes were reported as “bad” ice and snow covered, with drifting snow and temperatures were only 10 degrees by 11 a.m. January 10 saw sub-zero temperatures overnight. Roads were still blocked by drifting snow and high winds caused power outages. January 11-Temperatures fell to an overnight low of 3 degrees below zero and all highways in the area were still reporting slippery conditions with road surfaces ice covered. January 12-temperatures reached a season low of 10 degrees below zero overnight. January 13-Two inches of snow fell overnight. Primary roads reported to be in fair condition, with secondary roads reported to be partly snow-covered. January 14-Three inches of fresh snow fell overnight. There is a total of 9 inches on the ground now. All roads are reported as snow covered, although road crews continued their efforts to keep highways passable. January 17-Six inches of snow fell today on top of an earlier accumulation of 6 inches. State road crews reported they were making little headway in clearing snow covered state routes and County crews said they are “not gaining a thing” as they continue to plow roadways. January 18-The snow finally stopped falling and the Hocking Valley was digging out from under a 16 inch blanket built up over the last nine days. January 20-Over 6 inches of new snow fell, making a total accumulation of 22 plus inches on the ground in less than 2 weeks. All roads were considered extremely hazardous with motorists being warned to travel at their own risk. January 21-The total snowfall for the month in Hocking County is 26 inches. The County Highway Department reported that crews are running out of room to push snow aside resulting in the roads becoming narrower. An additional 2 inches of new snow fell. January 23-The season’s low temperature of 12 degrees below zero was recorded early today. January 24-A fierce blizzard powered by winds up to 80 mph hammered the Hocking Valley. The area was punished by a wild variety of weather ranging from a 46 degree high at noon on January 23 to 2 inches of snow and near zero temperatures by noon today. The 1.1 inches of rain plus snow brought flooding and road closings in some areas. A number of families were without heat due to power outages and high winds. Blowing and drifting snow made travel extremely difficult due to limited visibility and drifting. It was 10 degrees at 7:30 p.m. and had fallen further to 7 degrees by 11:30 p.m. with a wind chill factor of 44 degrees below zero. The State Highway Garage reported that several roads were closed because of high water and that downed trees were blocking traffic in other locations. January 25-Freezing rain and fog. January 26-State Route 56 between Coonville and Starr was closed because of high water, trees were down on State Routes 374 and 664 blocking traffic, and high water was causing problems on State Routes 56, 595, 93 South and 93 North. County Roads closed due to high water, drifting snow and fallen trees included: Maysville-Williams Road, Voris Road, Logan-Horn’s Mill Road, and Zwickle Road. Power and telephone service has been out in Laurelville since early this morning. January 27-The Hocking Valley and all of Ohio were virtually paralyzed this morning in the wake of what has been called the state’s worst blizzard as high winds produced severe drifting. Two more inches of snow fell overnight contributing to the heavy drifting that isolated many rural residents in their homes. State and County crews battling to reopen roadways throughout Hocking County reported drifts well over 7 feet deep in some places. It was 6 degrees above zero overnight and 14 degrees at 11 a.m. Several roads were closed due to snow drifts. January 28-County road crews reported some drifts as high as 15 feet. Approximately 90 percent of Perry Township is still without electricity for the third day and 75 percent of Perry Township’s roads are still closed. January 30-The Logan National Guard Unit answered almost 400 calls for assistance spending most of their time transporting residents to the homes of neighbors and friends. The Red Cross has helped over 450 people since the blizzard began on Thursday. Medicine, food and fuel oil have been purchased by the Red Cross and delivered by the National Guard. (The Logan Daily News)
January 6, 1996 – A severe winter storm hit Ohio. The ODOT at Logan reported there was a total of 14” of snow over the weekend in Hocking County (The Logan Daily News). The Blizzard of '96 developed near the Gulf Coast and moved up the East Coast. This massive system produced the greatest total and 24 hour snowfall at Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky airport. This one storm brought 14.3 inches of snowfall to the airport, which normally receives 23 inches for an entire season. The heaviest snow fell near the Ohio River in the extreme south. The worst blizzard conditions occurred over West Central areas as dry and powdery snow was blown around by high winds causing whiteouts. Some areas had more than 30 continuous hours of snowfall, and many people in Southern Ohio felt this was the worst winter storm since the Blizzard of '78. In Fayette County, the airport reported a wind gust to 56 mph during the height of the storm. By the end of the storm many homes and businesses had their roof collapse or partially collapse from the weight of the new snow, and snow from a storm earlier in the week. By late in the day on the 7th arctic air was pouring into the region. A 47 year old man died of exposure under an overpass in Miami County. A 76 year old man died of exposure on his front porch in Montgomery County. (NCDC)
February, 2003 A level 3 snow emergency was declared by the sheriff. Over 18 inches of snow fell in a 3 day period-February 14-17. Rescue for 20 special need campers from Camp Buckeye was necessary. Fire personnel transported medical personnel to and from the hospital. Most political jurisdictions applied for public assistance grants.
Severe Winter Storms can consist of ice, snow, and freezing rain.
Ice: to cover or surround with frozen water.
Snow Storm: A storm with the fall of abundant snow.
Freezing rain: Extremely cold precipitation usually in the form of rain that has the potential of the formation of ice.
Vulnerability and Estimate Losses Since 1950, severe winter storms have caused major problems for Hocking County. An estimated $19.961 million dollars has been spent on response and recovery efforts. With high winds, ice, accumulating snow, freezing rain and other hazards (such as downed trees and power lines) associated with this weather; the county is extremely vulnerable to these events. Based on past history, the probability of such an event is medium. Severe winter storms are a countywide issue. At 11% of Hocking County being affected by a severe winter storm, damages could reach $8,547,000.