Blanketed with snow; two more rounds coming today, Thursday
CARROLL COUNTY -- This week, the area is being inundated with not one, not two, but three winter storms.
The first hit all day Sunday, leaving 3 to 5 inches of snow across Carroll County.
As is becoming the routine, the weather caused chaos on the roads, especially in Holiday Island.
"Yesterday was a nightmare," Holiday Island Fire Chief Jack Deaton said. "All the churches didn't take heed, and we probably handled close to 30 or 35 cars in ditches -- most were on Highway 23 or 187."
Deaton added that no injuries were associated with the accidents and no one had to sleep in their cars, but a few of the cars were damaged.
Nick Samac of the Carroll County Office of Emergency Management added that Arkansas Highway 21 south of Berryville also saw a lot of vehicles sliding off the road. However, he indicated that no major injuries were reported there either.
As of Monday afternoon, the main roads in the area were in pretty good shape. Samac said the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department was able to get U.S. Highway 62 back in drivable condition "pretty quick."
"We are making a lot of progress today with the warmer temperatures, and from what I am hearing, we still have work to do on our secondary, lower-volume routes," Steve Lawrence, AHTD District 9 engineer, said.
Some of the side roads throughout the county remained in bad shape through Monday, but local public works crews were out in full force.
"It is pretty terrible, but the ice and snow are rotting now, so we are able to get it off the pavement pretty well in many places," Kirby Murray of the Berryville Department of Public Works said.
Employees at the HISID office said major roads like Woodsdale Drive, where there is sun, had blacktop showing as of Monday afternoon. They also said three crews were out blading and working on the side roads on Monday.
In Green Forest, crews are reporting good conditions, with clear streets and plenty of salt and gravel stored up for the next round.
"The roads are clear here," Buddy Fry of the Green Forest Department of Public Works said Monday afternoon. "We plowed yesterday until about 5 p.m. and put some gravel down on the intersections with salt, and today, the warm temperatures took care of the rest."
"A lot of it is slushing up, and that's great," Mike Armstrong of the Eureka Springs Public Works Department said. "Most side roads, as usual, are getting there, but it's still slick in the shady spots."
Another storm, bringing with it a wintry mix of sleet and snow, was expected to hit the area this morning and extend into the evening hours. The National Weather Service predicted 2 to 4 inches for this storm, with little or no ice accumulation.
The third storm, with more snow, is expected to visit Carroll County from Thursday morning through Saturday night. The biggest chance for snow -- 50 percent -- is on Saturday during the morning and evening hours. Precipitation total estimates have not been determined for this storm yet.
All of this precipitation will not be melting very quickly, either, as temperatures are expected to stay well below freezing until Friday and Saturday. The predicted high for both days is 33 degrees, according to the NWS.
On Sunday, following the end of the snow, temperatures are predicted to drop somewhere between 2 and -2 degrees.
Local crews are working to keep the roads as clear as possible, some with limited resources.
"It is very difficult to get salt right now," Lawrence said. "We are not running short, but we will be cautious because of this weather event we have forecasted tomorrow and later in the week."
"We plan on treating the primary routes as we normally do, but we may not be able to use as much salt on our secondary routes. ... We are going to be careful with how we use it so that we have salt on hand for future events."
The cities' public works departments didn't seem to have the same issues with salt.
"They are out there mixing up salt and gravel chips as we speak," Murray said. Our big bin will be loaded with chips and gravel, and that will last us for many days."
"We have plenty of gravel, salt and beet juice for the next round, but with the rain-snow mix, it's hard to keep deicing materials on the roads," Armstrong said. "We will do what we can to battle this mix."
"We always have somebody on call," Fry said. "Usually it is not too hard of a decision to bring in the crew. You don't want to waste payroll, but sometimes, you've got to do it."
"The county road department and the state highway department are getting everything ready as best they can," Samac said. "If the roads are slick, stay at home."
Carroll County News staff members Catherine Krummey, Kathryn Lucariello and Landon Reeves contributed to this report.