A severe storm system caused at least two deaths in Clermont County early Friday evening, and the county commissioners have declared a state of emergency due to extensive damage in the southern part of the county.
A man in his fifties was found dead in his mobile home on state Route 133 in Bethel, and woman in her sixties has died on Elizabeth Street in Moscow, according to Kathy Lehr, Clermont County Office of Public Information Communications Director. The victims names have not yet been released.
The village of Moscow was the hardest hit area in the county.
According to Lehr, approximately two dozen homes in Moscow have extensive damage.
“There is nothing left but the foundations of some of those homes,” Lehr said.
Lehr said that the sheriff’s office requested that citizens not enter Moscow as there were still downed power lines and blocked roadways several hours after the storm hit.
The sheriff’s office asked residents who were in the village at the time of the storm not to leave on their own, but to wait in a common area for deputies to escort them out, due to the potential danger from the downed power lines.
As of about 8 p.m., Duke Energy employees were still working to cut power to the affected lines.
Lehr said that two emergency shelters have been set up for people whose homes were damaged or destroyed. A Red Cross shelter has been set up at New Richmond High School, located at 1131 Bethel New Richmond Road.
This shelter has been set up initially for 50 people, but there will be room for more people if needed.
A second temporary shelter has been set up at the Bethel Firehouse, located at 149 N. East Street in Bethel.
The state of emergency declaration will enable the governor to activate the National Guard to help with debris removal in the hardest hit areas and allow for other resources to be made available to the county.
U.S. Congresswoman Jean Schmidt issued a statement Friday evening saying that she will be working to ensure that all appropriate federal assistance is made available to the county.
Schmidt plans to tour some of the affected areas Saturday.