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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Winter weather causes slick roadways

Friday, December 26, 2008

A complex storm system moved into the area Dec. 15 and 16, dropping temperatures by more than 50 degrees in some parts of Arkansas and bringing with it a mixture of freezing rain and sleet. Roads became slick during the day on Monday, closing schools and businesses in the area.

Highland and Salem schools resumed classes on Friday while Viola and Izard County Consolidated returned to school on Thursday.

Fulton County Judge Charles Willett said the county roads were slick, but salt and the weather returned road conditions to normal by Thursday afternoon.

"We spent two days salting the blacktop county roads," Willett said, "but the gravel roads didn't have enough on them to use a grader. We were lucky that we didn't get much in the area."

Willett said about 80 percent of the county's roads are back to normal after the spring floods caused considerable damage in Fulton County.

"We still have some concrete slabs to repour over some roadways," Willett said. "FEMA was here this week and everything has been approved. That'll get our roads back to normal. If we have a lot of heavy freezing and thawing, that could create some problems this winter, but I think we'll be in good shape."

According to the National Weather Service in Little Rock, Fulton County received less than an inch of freezing rain and sleet; Melbourne in Izard County reported less than 1/2-inch of accumulation; while Sharp County reported 1/2 to one inch of sleet and freezing rain accumulation.

Fulton County Sheriff Walter Dillinger said the county didn't experience any major problems due to road conditions.

"We didn't have any problems," Dillinger said, "and I sure was glad. I think everyone just used common sense and slowed down on their driving. There was an area on 62 between White's Tire Barn and the Sharp County line that was pretty slick. But, the state department went to work on that and got it fixed."

Dillinger said Highway 63 between Mammoth Spring and Hardy is usually the problem area when icy weather arrives. "But, we didn't have any trouble in that area either," Dillinger said. "The hills are usually a problem, but luckily we didn't have a problem this time."

Sharp County Sheriff Dale Weaver said there were no serious accidents in the county due to the weather. "There were a few cars in the ditches and people stranded but no serious accidents," Weaver said.

Weaver said sometimes when there is bad weather the department gets calls from the elderly needing assistance. "Sometimes they need help getting their medicines from the pharmacy or groceries," Weaver said. "But since the roads didn't remain bad for too long we didn't get any of those calls."

Weaver said he thinks the State Highway Department did a great job clearing the roads this time. He said in the past the highway department only spread sand to help with the roads but now they use salt on the bad hills and curves which helps tremendously.

Temperatures on Friday were in the mid-50s but dropped on Saturday night into the low 20s. Highs on Sunday were only in the 30s and dropped to the single digits on Sunday night.

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