On Sunday, Dec. 9, Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Alan Branson declared a State of Emergency for all of Guilford County due to the major winter storm Diego.  Branson said he did so after conferring with Guilford County Emergency Services officials.

The county made the declaration late Sunday morning as snow continued to pile up.  It stated, “Guilford County has received significant snow and additional snow and ice accumulations are likely to result in additional adverse weather conditions, icy roads, and downed power lines and trees resulting in power outages throughout the county.”  It added that, “as a result of the above-described disaster, I have determined that there is an imminent threat of, or existing conditions have caused or will cause, widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property.”

The Declaration of Emergency also imposed some “restrictions and prohibitions” on citizens, though they are really suggestions. Citizens are “encouraged” to stay off the roads while they remain dangerous “if reasonably possible,” and, if they do have to drive, they are also advised to “limit travel so as not to interfere with efforts of emergency responders and repair crews.”

The declaration also kicks into motion certain obligations on the county’s emergency responders such as making sure they are available for work if their services are needed.

Guilford County Clerk to the Board Robin Keller said on Sunday that the authority to declare States of Emergency was delegated from the state to local governments several years ago to help speed up the process.  She said the chair of the Board of Commissioners in Guilford County now makes the call – “obviously after consulting with our emergency management staff first.”

Guilford County Emergency Management Director Don Campbell plays a big role in that decision.

On Sunday, Branson, who has a truck that is very capable in the snow, didn’t take his own advice:  He said his power flickered several times so he went out to get five more gallons of gasoline for a generator.  Branson added that, other than that excursion, he planned to just stay home on what happens to be his 52nd birthday.