Polk recognizes Diego emergency workers

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, January 9, 2019

County received over 1,300 emergency calls during snow event

COLUMBUS — The Polk County Board of Commissioners have recognized its emergency departments and workers who served during December’s Winter Storm Diego. 

Commissioners met Monday and approved a resolution that recognized employees for their work during the storm, which dumped 10-20 inches of snow on the county and caused more than 10,000 residents to be without power for days. The storm, which happened between Dec. 8-11, 2018, caused many trees to come down and shut down many roadways. 

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The county declared a state of emergency and opened an emergency operations center, working with four county telecommunicators, who received more than 1,300 calls during the event. 

“The Polk County Consolidated Human Services Agency and the American Red Cross opened and staffed an emergency shelter at a Polk County School on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 5 p.m. that remained open until Wednesday, Dec. 12, at noon, to provide 91 consecutive hours of care, accommodations and medical attention for over 45 people,” states the county’s resolution. “Employees and volunteers for law enforcement, emergency management, local fire departments, rescue squad, emergency medical services, St. Luke’s Hospital, county and municipal personnel, [the North Carolina Department of Transportation] and utility workers labored diligently in the extreme conditions to ensure the safety and well-being of our citizens was maintained, and the roadways and services were restored.” 

Commissioners commended Polk County Emergency Management Director and Fire Marshal Bobby Arledge for all his work during the storm. 

Commissioner Ray Gasperson thanked Arledge during commissioner comments for all he does. 

“You’ve had a lot to deal with in the last several months,” Gasperson said. “It’s incredible. You are really highly skilled and conditioned individuals that are involved in that.” 

Saluda had the most snow in the area during Diego, with official figures showing 18.5 inches, though some people recorded 22 inches of snow. A shelter was also set up in Saluda during the first part of the storm. Some residents were out of power for up to five days. 

Meteorologists forecast another system this weekend, with the mountains likely getting snow and the upstate possibly receiving snow and a mix of cold rain. As of Tuesday, temperatures were predicted to be a low of 33 degrees on Saturday and 32 degrees on Sunday, with snow on Saturday.