Old Man Winter delivers a hit; schools out again Friday

Thursday, February 21, 2013

CARROLL COUNTY -- After several sleights, Old Man Winter finally delivered the promised punch this week. A winter storm plowed into Carroll County Wednesday afternoon, shuttering schools for two and a half days and mortaring trees and roads with up to half an inch of ice.

National Weather Service meteorologist Robert Darby said the storm had unloaded 0.25 to 0.5 inch of freezing rain on the area. The storm also brought sleet, strong winds, and scattered thunderstorms.

The threat of slick roads led school officials in Berryville, Eureka Springs, and Green Forest to dismiss classes early on Wednesday and cancel school the following morning. On Thursday afternoon, they all canceled classes for Friday as well.

Eureka Springs Superintendent Curtis Turner said he had been stranded at home all morning, his car marooned at the bottom of a frozen hill. He had hoped scattered rain would thaw the ice enough to allow him to escape and students to return to school on Friday, but he eventually gave up those hopes, he said.

As of Thursday afternoon, no traffic accidents or major power outages had been reported in the county.

Carroll Electric spokeswoman Nancy Plagge did report a minor outage near Eureka Springs, where an electric pole snapped and disrupted power to 23 accounts.

The outage occurred around 10:30, she said, and a crew was still working to restore power just before noon.

Plagge attributed the absence of more widespread outages to the company's aggressive vegetation management practices.

She added that she, like Turner, was hoping for a thaw, lest strong winds forecasted for the remainder of the day should cause more problems.

"This ice is not good for a power system," she said. "...Sometimes, when you get ice on the lines, and wind, funky things happen."

A winter weather advisory remained in effect until 5 p.m. Thursday, according to the Weather Service -- with up to 0.10 more inches of ice and as much as 2 inches of snow possible. Wind gusts as high as 39 miles per hour were also forecasted. A light rain began falling around 5 p.m. and was continuing as darkness fell.

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