Lancaster and southeast Ohio communities bracing for heavy ice

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Southeast and eastern Ohio are expected to get more ice, causing worries about roads (WSYX/WTTE)

The biggest community in Fairfield County is preparing for a significant ice storm Friday evening, as the weather system crossing Ohio could blanket Lancaster with a quarter-inch of ice.

Residents purchased groceries, salt and snow shovels ahead of the storm. Although the county is urging people to stay off the roads, some cannot avoid the drive this weekend.

“I actually have to work,” said J.D. Smith, of Lancaster. “I’m just planning on leaving super-early, and staying way behind everyone else on the roads. I don’t want to slide and crash into anybody.”

The county’s emergency management director said Friday that his team is ready to enter “full activation” if power outages or ice conditions become too severe. That would bring a slate of fire, police and EMS coordinators together at Fairfield County headquarters and streamline the county’s emergency response teams.

“We have dozens of police patrol cars throughout the county, and they indicate to dispatch how the storm and road conditions are progressing,” said the director, Jon Kochis. “The big concern is power outages. We want to make sure everyone is prepared for outages in the long term.”

The last major ice storm to hit Fairfield County was New Year’s 2005 when 14 Ohio counties were declared federal disaster zones due to ice-related damage.