The snow that won't go: Bitter cold delays thawing

Friday, February 7, 2014 ~ Updated 5:13 PM
David Bell / Carroll County News

Derryl DeShields clears his driveway in Berryville while Lady stands guard. Go to Facebook.com/CarrollCoNews for more snow pictures.

CARROLL COUNTY -- The snow and ice that doused the county on Tuesday has left its mark on area roads, causing several closures and cancellations.

The Berryville, Eureka Springs, Green Forest and Alpena school districts all called off school every day this week, while the county courthouses and offices were closed Monday through Wednesday.

"I apologize about closing the courthouses, but we did it with safety in mind," County Judge Sam Barr said. "I would rather get criticized for saving someone's life than open the courthouse and get somebody killed on their way in. It is not only for our workers, but people who are coming in to the courthouse, too. I apologize for the inconvenience, but we have to take everyone's safety into consideration."

In addition, the Berryville School Board cancelled its special meeting on Monday night, and the regular Berryville City Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday night was cancelled as well.

The Tuesday storm brought an average of just under a tenth of an inch of ice and between 1 and 3 inches of snow to the county, on top of the 3 to 5 inches Carroll Countians received last Sunday.

Holiday Island Fire Chief Jack Deaton said Thursday that it had been slow between Monday and Thursday.

"We delivered some medicines, and there were no calls until today," Deaton said.

He added that a pickup truck had hit a child sledding on Summit Drive Thursday afternoon, and the child was helicoptered out, but injuries were not life-threatening. A full report on this incident will be in the Feb. 11 Midweek edition of Carroll County News.

The main roads in Holiday Island are in good shape, but some of the side roads are still slick.

"We've had a few more calls of cars sliding in ditches," Deaton said. "Highway 23 North is in pretty good shape, as is Highway 187. But Country Club Drive is real bad, Stateline from the four-way stop to Wild Turkey Drive is slick, and Wild Turkey Drive is slick. No sun gets to them."

Holiday Island District Manager Dennis Kelly said Public Works has not been clearing the ice off the roads, but instead leaving a layer of snow for traction and then putting down chat on top of that.

"The best thing that ever happens is the sun coming out and melting the ice," he said. "But when the sun goes down, whatever water is left on the roads is going to freeze over."

The divide between the main roads and side roads is similar in Eureka Springs.

"We're doing great on the main roads," Mike Armstrong of the Eureka Springs Public Works Department said. "Now we have to concentrate on the side roads."

"The cold is hard to battle. The beet juice is doing great; we've used about 2,300 gallons on the roads during the last week. ... [The snow and ice] left isn't much, [we] just need the sun and the temps to go up."

Temperatures are supposed to reach the 40s on Saturday.

The split between the primary and secondary routes is similar for the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department.

"In Carroll County all of our primary routes are in good condition, and as for our secondary routes, we are still working on them," Steve Lawrence of the AHTD said Thursday afternoon. "They are probably 70 percent clear and we got some sun, so we are making some progress. If we have any thawing tomorrow, we are hoping to have everything clear."

In contrast, the roads on the eastern side of the county seem to be in better shape.

"We are actually getting caught up ... and we've got gravel on every place we can find," Kirby Murray of the Berryville Department of Public Works said on Thursday afternoon. "Some of the streets melted off yesterday, and right now, everything is looking good."

Earlier forecasts from the National Weather Service called for more snow to hit the area over the weekend, but those predictions have since diminished, with a 20 percent chance of light snow during the day today and a 30 percent chance this evening. The next chance for snow is early next week, with a 20 percent chance for light snow from Sunday night through Tuesday.

Local crews are making sure they are stocked with the proper supplies for the next storm, whether it's today or next week.

"We are all set for the next one that comes," Murray said.

"We have the plows and everything ready," Fry added.

In Holiday Island, Kelly said Thursday the district had ordered another 200 tons of chat, to be delivered to the information center parking lot up on Hwy. 23 Friday morning.

"We have permission to dump it there," he said, "because we don't have enough room at Public Works for the trucks to maneuver it in. They can get in on the main highway, but we just can't get them to the back roads."

Public Works is located at the end of some steep hills in Holiday Island.

The Carroll County Roads Department is also well-stocked.

"We added a new snow plow, so they have two four-wheel drive pickups and three bigger trucks and 10 graders now," Barr said Thursday afternoon. "I bought two pallets today [which is around a ton]. We hauled some more chips in also and stockpiled them today."

The state highway department has growing concerns about the salt supply available.

"As far as our salt supply goes, we've got a good supply on hand, but when we talk to our suppliers and about getting filled back up, they are not telling us much, which is disconcerting," Lawrence said.

Carroll County News staff writers Catherine Krummey, Kathryn Lucariello and Landon Reeves contributed to this report.

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