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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Winter finally arrives

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Snowfall cancels school, makes roads hazardous

SLICK WRECK: This propane truck owned by Home Town Energy hit a slick spot near Eminence Jan. 31. Hazmat officials from Oregon County -- Eric King, Mark Arnold and Sam Barton -- helped transfer the propane from the overturned truck to another truck. The truck driver was not seriously injured.

SNOW DAY: Thayer High School students Xander Moore and Heather Smith took advantage of a day off from school last week. All area schools were out Thursday and Friday after a snowy Wednesday afternoon dropped 2-3 inches of the frozen precipitation on the area.

AREA -- Two to three inches of snow fell in the Oregon County-Mammoth Spring area last week.

The snow began falling just after noon Jan. 31. Mammoth Spring Schools dismissed classes at 1:30 p.m.

Mammoth Spring Superintendent of Schools Ron Taylor said the snow actually came at a good time. "We have had a lot of sickness in our school this winter. We usually average 12 to 14 students a day missing school. For the last two weeks we have averaged 40 to 60 students a day missing school," Taylor said.

He said most parents reported their children having flu or flu like symptoms.

The superintendent said letting school out early was not an economic issue in his school district and the safety of the students is always a top priority when the roads start getting slick.

"The roads in our school district deteriorated very quickly. Faster than I had seen happen in many years. We were lucky all of our students and teachers got home safe," he said.

Alton, Couch, Koshkonong, Mammoth Spring and Thayer schools were all closed last Thursday and Friday due to the slick roads. Taylor said the two days off helped his district with the sickness issue and said Feb. 5 absentee totals were down to normal.

All area schools that had been dismissed because of snow were back in class Feb. 5.

Although there were no road closings in the area, Oregon County Sheriff Tim Ward and other officers, were kept busy assisting motorists and others with medical issues.

"We responded to several assist calls in the area," the sheriff said. He said one person had a need for oxygen, and another call was from a man in a wheelchair who got caught on a slick road and needed assistance getting his vehicle unstuck.

"Highways 142 and V were very slick. This is where we received the majority of our calls," Ward said. He said although the roads were slick and hazardous, no serious injuries were reported because of accidents due to the snowfall.

Early Wednesday morning when the National Weather Service issued a snow advisory for Oregon County, saying the area might receive one to two inches of snow, MoDOT was out in full force keeping U.S 63 from the Arkansas state line to Howell County free of frozen precipitation by spreading liquid salt.

Street department workers with the city of Mammoth Spring used a blade to keep Highway 9, which also serves as Main Street, clear.

The Oregon County Road Department did not use a blade to clear roads during the recent snow.

"One or two inches of snow is just not deep enough for us to push with a blade on gravel roads. If the snow had been five or six inches we would have used a blade on our gravel roads," Presiding Commissioner Leo Warren said. Warren added that salt cannot be used on a gravel road because it causes the dirt road to fall through.

On Jan. 31 Chief Deputy Eric King and two other members of the Region G Hazardous Materials Team from Oregon County -- Sam Barton and Mark Arnold -- were called to Shannon County where a propane truck owned by Home Town Energy had lost control on a slick low-water bridge and over-turned. King said the truck was filled with propane which had to be transferred to another vehicle.

He said the call came into the sheriff's office at Alton about 3:15 p.m. The truck overturned just east of Eminence off Shannon County Road 214. The driver of the propane truck was not seriously injured in the accident.

Others that assisted in the cleanup included the National Park Service, Troop G and the fire departments from Eminence, Birch Tree and West Plains.

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