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Friday, May 6, 2016

Cleanup continues on snowy roads

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Staff Writer

Area residents were treated to a rare event over the holiday weekend -- a white Christmas.

According to the National Weather Service, between 4 and 6 inches of snow fell in the tri-counties Dec. 22 and Dec. 23.

Fulton County deputy Paul Martin said several roads, including Highway 63 between Hardy and Mammoth Spring, were closed briefly due to motorists sliding off the roads.

"We had some people slide off the road, but there weren't any major accidents or injuries," Martin said.

Izard County Judge Eddie Cooper said parts of the county received up to 8 inches of snow. He said all blacktop roads have been cleared. The majority of gravel roads had not been cleared as of press time.

"We have 1,200 miles of roads, of which 88 miles are blacktop (roads). With only five machines (graders) it's hard to clear all those roads," Cooper said.

Fulton County Judge Curren Everett said the county's nine graders have been working overtime to clear Fulton County's 1,500 miles of gravel roads.

"We're doing what we can. Hopefully, with a little help from Mother Nature we'll have most of these roads cleared by the end of the week," the judge said.

Everett said the timing of the winter storm hurt efforts to clear the roads.

"The snow started falling at a time when a lot of people were traveling for the holiday or shopping. As drivers run over that snow it packs and makes it harder to blade off," he said.

Officials at the Izard County Sheriff's Department said there were several wrecks due to the ice and snow but none were severe.

Jimmy Russell, hydro-meteorological technician with the National Weather Service, said the snowfall was caused by the convergence of two weather elements.

Russell said a moisture-filled low pressure system moved into the area Dec. 20 from the Gulf of Mexico. He said cold air from the Plains, driven by a polar jet stream, combined with the moisture to produce a winter storm that stretched from central Texas to northern Ohio.

Frigid temperatures over the next several days, including lows dipping to near zero Dec. 24, kept the snow from thawing.

John Robinson, warning coordinator meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said snow is not forecast for this week, but if the same elements remain over the state more snow could fall.

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