Area emergency agencies agreed that people traveling in winter storms need to be prepared for being stranded along the road.
Clinton County Sheriff Rick Lincoln recommended that people should avoid driving during winter storms like the one on Tuesday night. He said visibility was zero and there was a great deal of drifting.
Many individuals, including two deputies on the road to help motorists, became stuck. Lincoln said volunteers went out to rescue people, only to head back to safety because they found it too dangerous.
When he left for the night around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, there were 13 people stranded who could not be reached by emergency personnel.
Accidents also occurred Tuesday. A semi with a tank of ethanol tipped over in Charlotte. Lincoln said the tank did not leak. In DeWitt, a semi became stuck in an overpass and a vehicle ran into it.
Amber Wood, executive director of the Gateway Area Chapter of the American Red Cross, encouraged people to be careful if they absolutely have to drive during winter storms. People driving in bad weather should carry emergency kits with them. Emergency kits should contain blankets, clothing, food, water, jumper cables, a first aid kit, a flashlight, and batteries.
Wood worked earlier this week to prepare for the storm. She teamed with Clinton County Emergency Management Coordinator Chance Kness, as well as agencies in Jackson and Whiteside counties. Wood made sure to have shelters and volunteers on standby.
Wood said Wednesday that they had not received anyone requesting help.
Kness said the main problem Tuesday night was the snow drifts and the fact emergency personnel had trouble getting to people. Small damage, such as downed branches may have also resulted from the storm. Kness said he had been concerned about the area losing power, but the power stayed on.
Lincoln said the sheriff’s office was dealing with a large amount of vehicles in the ditch Wednesday. Deputies checked if the vehicles were occupied. Lincoln said they also worked to get cars moved for the Iowa Department of Transportation and the Clinton County Secondary Roads Department for snow removal.
Lincoln emphasized that emergency personnel cannot drive any more successfully than other people.
He said if people do drive in storms like the one Tuesday, they should have survival gear in the car, since they could sitting there overnight