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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Winter arrives

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Winter's Not all Bad: The blanket of snow covering pasture land along Havenwood Road in Fulton County was a sight to behold Feb. 1. Photo/Ninemire
Snow closes schools; icy roads cause trouble for motorists

For the past couple of years, winters have been considerably mild, with little or no winter precipitation throughout northeast Arkansas. However, mother nature jogged our memory Jan. 31.

Snow began falling shortly after 1 p.m. and accumulated quickly, continuing into the evening hours.

Due to the inclement conditions, authorities closed state Highway 9 between Salem and Mammoth Spring.

Area schools cancelled afternoon classes in order for drivers to avoid hazardous road conditions. Several businesses closed early, and many Wednesday evening church services were cancelled throughout the tri-county area.

Some businesses opened late on Thursday; some did not open at all. Classes at all local schools were canceled through Friday.

There were no official measurements of the depth of snowfall in Fulton or Izard counties, according to Salvador Guiterrez with the National Weather Service.

"We didn't send any official ground troops to survey the area," Guiterrez said. "Generally calls reported 1 to 2 inches (of snowfall), with some areas reporting three inches."

Despite only having a couple of inches of snow, motorists still had trouble, according to Izard County Sheriff Tate Lawrence.

Lawrence said there were approximately 35 weather-related wrecks throughout the county. "The snow came so quickly and unexpectedly -- it kept us working like crazy," Lawrence said. "We were called to accidents shortly after noon when the snow began and worked until 9 or 10 that evening."

Lawrence said his office was fortunate; though there were a large number of traffic problems, the incidents were not serious.

"Most of the stuff was people sliding off the road. We had to pull people out of ditches, and there were a couple of fender benders," he said.

There were severe wrecks in Horseshoe Bend, however.

Feb.1 a 2002 Chevrolet Malibu slid off of Peace Valley Road and under a fallen tree, according to Horseshoe Bend Police Chief Fred Mitchell.

Mitchell said that despite the vehicle suffering major damages, the two front seat passengers left the wreck unscathed. Only the backseat passenger -- Cathy J. Griswald, 64, of Ash Flat -- required medical treatment, he said.

Mitchell said there was another dangerous wreck at approximately 2:25 that afternoon.

Connie Brownfield of Horseshoe Bend was attempting to turn left at the intersections of Shady Lane and Parkway when she lost control of her 1999 Dodge Intrepid, Mitchell said.

He said Brownfield escaped unharmed after her vehicle slid off the street, into a ditch and came to a stop, overturned in the nearby woods.

"We're lucky -- in all this weather there were no seriously threatening injuries," Lawrence said.

The scene was similar in Fulton County.

Fulton County Judge Charles Willett said there were several small wrecks, but nothing was serious and no injuries were reported.

As for county roads, Willett said there were no major damages. "Everything's OK -- there's a few places that have fallen in from freezing and thawing, but it's nothing big," he said.

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