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Weather Policies



A county sheriff may, pursuant to Ohio Revised Code sections 311.07 and 311.08, declare a snow emergency and temporarily close the state roads and municipal streets within his/her jurisdiction when such action is reasonably necessary for the preservation of the public peace. Ohio Attorney General Opinion 86-023 states that a Sheriff of a County may declare a snow emergency and temporarily close County and Township roads; Ohio Attorney General’s Opinion 97-015 (pdf), issued April 1, 1997, concluded that this authority includes state roads, county and township roads and municipal streets.

Any person who knowingly hampers or fails to obey a lawful order of the sheriff declaring a snow emergency and temporarily closing highways, roads and/or streets within his/her jurisdiction may be subject to criminal prosecution under Ohio Revised Code Section 2917.13, “Misconduct at an emergency” or other applicable law or ordinance.

Please do not private message our Facebook page or contact the Sheriff’s Office for the most current level, advice, or permission to travel. Snow levels exist for a reason and are issued by Sheriff Smith for your protection. As a rule, you should try to avoid traveling on any roadways that haven't been plowed and/or salted as you are at risk for an accident. The fewer drivers on the road, the safer it will be for emergency personnel and transportation employees responsible for clearing snow and ice. The volume of emergency calls drastically increases during inclement weather. Please do not call 911 or the Sheriff’s Office for the most recent level or specific road conditions. It is impossible to know the condition of every roadway in the county; however, Sheriff Smith works diligently to communicate with deputies, ODOT, the Athens County Engineer, and Township Trustees during inclement weather. Use your own judgment based on your driving skills, vehicle, roadway conditions and necessity to travel in order to determine if you should drive during a level. Our most recent Facebook post will reflect the current level (if the post has not been changed, the level has not been changed).


For push notifications, please download the Athens County Sheriff’s Office app.

Legal Authority

Weather Policies.png

Snow Emergency Classifications

Tornado Classifications

Thunderstorm Classifications

Flood Classifications

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