Commission calls emergency meeting, declares state of emergency for Cullman County 

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Front, left to right, are Cullman County Engineer Phillip Widner, Cullman County Attorney Emily Niezer Johnston and Cullman County Administrator John Bullard. Back, left to right, are Cullman County Commissioner Kerry Watson, Chairman Jeff Clemons, Cullman County Commissioner Kelly Duke and Cullman County Commissioner Corey Freeman. (Cheyenne Sharp)

Updated Jan. 14, 2024, at 7:22 p.m.

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Cullman County Commission on Sunday called an emergency meeting to discuss the impending winter weather and declared a state of emergency for the county. Chairman Jeff Clemons, along with the other commissioners in attendance, signed the declaration.

 The declaration reads: 

“WHEREAS, in accordance with State law, which empowers the Cullman County Commission to determine the existence or threatened existence of a local emergency when said County is affected or likely to be affected by public calamity: and 

“WHEREAS, the Cullman County Commission has been requested by the Director of the Emergency Management Agency of Cullman County to determine the existence of a local emergency therein due to the imminent threat of damage to the local infrastructure by ice, snow, sleet, and freezing rain as well as extreme and prolonged freezing temperatures, beginning on Sunday, January 14, 2024; 

“WHEREAS, this winter weather event could cause significant damage to public and private property and pose a danger to the health and safety of the people of Cullman County, including disruption of essential utility systems, personal injury, and loss of life; 

“WHEREAS, said County Commission does hereby find: That conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property have arisen within said County, caused by ice, snow, sleet, and freezing rain as well as extreme and prolonged freezing temperatures or other causes, commencing on or about 6:00 p.m. on the 14th day of January 2024; and That the aforesaid conditions of extreme peril warrant and necessitate the determination of the existence of a local emergency; 

“NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED that a local emergency now exists throughout said County; and may request emergency assistance and may request major disaster assistance if needed; and 

“IT IS FURTHER PROCLAIMED AND ORDERED during the existence of said local emergency the powers, functions, and duties of the Director of the Emergency Management Agency and the emergency organization of the County shall be those prescribed by State law, by charter, ordinances, and resolutions of the Cullman County Commission on January 14, 2024. Done this the 14th day of Januarv 2024.” 

IT IS FURTHER PROCLAIMED AND ORDERED during the existence of said local emergency the powers, functions, and duties of the Director of the Emergency Management Agency and the emergency organization of the County shall be those prescribed by State law, by charter, ordinances, and resolutions of the Cullman County Commission on January 14, 2024. Done this the 14th day of Januarv 2024.” 

Cullman County Emergency Management Agency Director Tim Sartin was present at the meeting and addressed the commission to explain the potentially dangerous winter weather.  

“Already in the state we have freezing rain and sleet,” Sartin said. “Once the temperature goes below the freezing point tonight (sic), it will not regain above the freezing point until Thursday afternoon.” 

The commission also touched base with the Cullman County Road Department about preparing roads and highways throughout Cullman County. Cullman County Engineer Phillip Widner said he has his teams prepared with graders, plows and sand trucks, as well as trucks fitted with calcium chloride sprayers – all designed to keep the roads as ice and snow free as possible.  

Said Widner, “We have got all our graders placed in various positions around the county; we have four snowplows that are hooked up and ready to go.” 

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