Officials waiting for snow, sleet and ice
Feb 12, 2014 | 1484 views |  0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bob Crisp/The Daily Home
<br>Members of the Talladega County Road Department use a backhoe to load trucks with sand in preparation for winter weather. According to County Engineer Tim Markert, these trucks and highway crew members will be on stand-by to respond to icy conditions on bridges within the county.
Bob Crisp/The Daily Home

Members of the Talladega County Road Department use a backhoe to load trucks with sand in preparation for winter weather. According to County Engineer Tim Markert, these trucks and highway crew members will be on stand-by to respond to icy conditions on bridges within the county.
City and county officials were watching and waiting Wednesday as snow, sleet and ice approached Talladega and St. Clair counties.

Pell City officials said they will make a decision about whether to close or delay the opening of city offices Thursday morning, as ice, sleet and snow were expected to reach the area late Wednesday.

“We are going to look at it in the morning,” Pell City city manager Patrick Draper said.

Pell City offices opened at their normal time Wednesday, while county buildings opened at noon.

Forecasters predicted the snow and ice to move into St. Clair County before noon, but the winter precipitation was moving into the area late Wednesday

The area only received cold rain and travel was not affected since temperatures hovered above freezing Tuesday night and during most of the day Wednesday.

“City offices were open today,” Draper said. “Right now the temperature is good.”

Draper said city offices were expected to close early as snow was expected to start accumulating between 2 and 8 p.m. across central Alabama Wednesday.

St. Clair County Commission Chairman Stan Batemon said county buildings and administrative offices opened at noon and expected to close at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

He said all county offices were expected to resume operations at 9 a.m. today.

“We are asking employees to report when they can safely travel to work,” Batemon said.

St. Clair County Circuit Court Judge Phil Seay said the drug and veterans courts, which were scheduled for early this morning, are rescheduled for next Tuesday at their normal times. All courts will resume normal operations at 9 a.m. today, unless weather conditions worsen.

“Most of the county will see less than 2 inches of snow,” Batemon said.

He said temperatures today are expected to reach above freezing by 10 a.m.

Pell City Schools Superintendent Michael Barber said early Wednesday that a decision about school openings had not been made.

“We are monitoring and working closely with the local EMA office,” Barber said.

According to the National Weather Service in Birmingham, St. Clair County was expected to see ice in the northeast corner of the county by 3 p.m. Wednesday, and snow was expected to reach all parts of St. Clair County by 6 p.m. Temperatures were expected to reach 32 degrees by 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Snow was expected to exit St. Clair County by midnight Wednesday.

Talladega County Schools Public Information Officer Gayle Jones said school officials had not made an announcement as to whether or not schools would be closed or delayed Thursday.

Talladega County Engineer Tim Markert noted members of the Road Department would be on stand-by to deal with any issues pertaining to the county’s bridges.

“We’ll monitor the roads and if the bridges ice over, we’ll sand them,” Markert said.

Markert explained the temperatures hadn’t dropped low enough to effect the roads, but as the temperatures drop, the bridges are at greater risk of icing over due to the passage of cold air underneath them.

Talladega City Manager Brian Muenger said Wednesday afternoon that city offices would almost certainly be opening late on Thursday, but no decision had been made as to how late.

"I haven't seen any forecasts that haven't called for at least some ice on the roads," he said. "So at a very minimum we will be opening late. Last time we opened at noon, but we have also opened at 10 a.m. before. Right now, we'll just have to wait and see."

Talladega City Schools Superintendent Doug Campbell said he was waiting for the Talladega County Emergency Management Agency to update their forecast Wednesday afternoon before making a decision. Information will be available via local TV and radio stations and on the schools and EMA web site.

According to the NWS, a Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until 6 a.m. Thursday.

Winter weather will make travel very hazardous across much of North Central Alabama. Sporadic power outages are possible for locations that receive the highest totals of freezing rain.

A Winter Storm Warning means significant amounts of snow, sleet, and ice are expected or occurring, making travel “very hazardous or impossible.”

Sylacauga City Schools was assessing the weather situation at press time and had not made a determination on whether to cancel or delay school Thursday. Students, parents and staff will be notified of a decision via a phone message. Updates are also posted on the school system’s Facebook page.

City agencies in Sylacauga were on standby for a wintry weather event, Mayor Doug Murphree said, with sand trucks loaded and police rescue vehicles ready for action.

“We’ve got everything ready as much as we can,” he said. “We don’t want to overreact to this, but we don’t want to be unprepared either.”

A warming shelter opened at 5 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Sylacauga on Wednesday and will stay open as long as it is needed, Murphree said.