St. Clair EMA reports 5 deaths, 54 injuries during winter storm
by David Atchison
Jan 30, 2014 | 5883 views |  0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PELL CITY - When the snow came so did the emergency calls.

“The phones were non-stop,” said Barbara Turbville, who was working in the St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency control center in Pell City when the snow arrived in east Alabama. “The storm hit us so quickly. We didn’t have a lot of notice.”

She said about 159 students were stranded in schools in St. Clair County, and students and some faculty members were forced to spend the night Tuesday.

“We’re still far from normal,” Turbville said.

She said there are still a lot of vehicles along Interstate 20, which drivers were forced to abandon Tuesday.

She said vehicles could not get up and over the ice and snow covered hills on I-20, and commuters were forced to walk to the nearest exits.

Turbville said it was impossible for emergency workers to reach people on I-20, where traffic came to a complete stop.

She said workers were still trying to remove a tractor trailer that jackknifed on U.S. 231 between Pell City and Ashville, basically shutting down that highway.

Turbville said Alabama 174 was still treacherous to travel.

“The county engineer is asking people to stay off the roads unless there is something urgent,” she said.

Turbville said people in the community, businesses and local churches opened their doors to commuters stranded in the snow.

St. Clair County Courthouses in Pell City and Ashville remained open as a warming station for people, said one St. Clair County EMA official, however, the courthouse was closed for business Thursday.

The county offices will open Friday and operate at normal hours.

All Jefferson State Community College campuses will remain closed Friday, including the Pell City campus.

Turbville said things could have been worse.

“Thank God we didn’t have any power outages,” Turbville said.

According to the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, there were five casualties attributed to the storm, and 54 injuries attributed to the storm.

Contact David Atchison at datchison@dailyhome.com