Although this winter has caused a lot of problems it also has brought some picturesque scenes throughout the county including the hoarfrost scene on trees near Ottawa on Wednesday morning. (Putnam Sentinel/Nancy Kline)
Although this winter has caused a lot of problems it also has brought some picturesque scenes throughout the county including the hoarfrost scene on trees near Ottawa on Wednesday morning. (Putnam Sentinel/Nancy Kline)

PUTNAM COUNTY — As Putnam County residents struggle with drifted drives, snow-covered roads and Level 3 Road Advisories, many have talked about how this compares to the snowfall during the winter of 1977-78 when the great 1978 Blizzard occurred. During that storm, ten inches of snow fell in Putnam County on Jan. 26-27. Schools were forced to close eight of 18 days from the middle of January to Jan. 31.

According to Ray Burkholder, who was the official weather observer for our area at that time, Putnam County received a total of 66.1 inches of snow from Dec. 1, 1978 to Feb. 28, 1978. Compare that to what current official weather observer Guy Verhoff has reported for this year: 55.4 inches of snow from Dec. 1, 2013, to Feb. 10, 2014.
During the 1977-78 winter the snowfall was Dec.-24.5 inches; Jan.-33.9 inches and Feb.-7.7 inches.
During the 2013-14 winter snowfall has been Dec.-14.3 inches; Jan.-23.6 inches and Feb. (as of Feb. 10)-17.5 inches

Doug Schroeder, director of the Ottawa Waste Water Treatment Plant reported that Ottawa received 12.7 inches of snowfall in January and 16 inches in February. He said, when melted down, this totals 8.75 inches of precipitation since the first of the year.

“We hope the snow doesn’t melt too fast,” Schroeder said. “With all the snow piles around, this could cause a problem.”

Also addressing this year’s severe weather conditions have been the Putnam County Commissioners. Since the first of the year they have officially closed the courthouse for three days when Level 3 road advisories were issued.

On Tuesday, Feb. 11, they approved a resolution that when the county offices are closed due to weather or other emergency conditions, employees will be paid for those hours the employees were scheduled to work. Employees not scheduled to work, on approved FMLA, sick leave, vacation, leave of absence of otherwise unavailable for work shall not be entitled to pay for the hours the Putnam County Offices are closed.

Employees who are designated as “essential employees” by the Commissioners, (such as maintenance), are expected to come to work regardless of weather conditions and are entitled to time and one-half for all the hours worked during the “emergency closing.”

Also because of snow, the Putnam County Real Estate taxes due date has been extended until Friday, Feb. 14. Envelopes must be post marked by then or a penalty will be assessed. Office hours are: Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. – closed Saturday. A drop box is located in the alley off of Hickory St.