Drivers urged to limit travel on icy roadsPublished 5:11pm Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Higher ice accumulations on Tuesday and possibly Wednesday have emergency officials issuing a strict warning – stay off the roads.
By lunch Tuesday, freezing rain was beginning to gather in Covington County, and forecasts predicted up to half-inch of ice. Forecasters are now calling for 1.5 inches of snowfall by Wednesday on top of the ice.
“Here are the highpoints as we can tell,” said county EMA director Susan Harris. “Most of the freezing rain is expected to fall along the coastal areas in less than nine hours. It starts quick, accrues rapidly and ends with a changeover to light snow for a brief while (Tuesday night).
“Roads will quickly become treacherous and life threatening very soon after the freezing rain begins,” she said. “And, we will probably see trees and power lines will be downed under the weight of the ice.
“The problem with ice is that you can’t see it on the road,” Harris said. “That makes it very, very dangerous. Stay off the roads.”
At a Monday special called commission meeting, the decision was made to halt all area transit runs in the county until Thursday.
The engineer’s office planned to use sand on area bridges to combat the ice, but people are still asked to stay off the roads.
“As soon as the ice hits, we’ll have crews out,” engineer Darren Capps said. “There’s really nothing we can do for the roads after they freeze over. At one point, we may have to close the roads, but we’ll have to keep monitoring things. It depends on the temperature. Things get critical when it drops below 32.
“It’s not the snow that worries us; it’s the ice,” he said. “People do not need to be on the roads – not unless it is an absolute emergency.”
County and city roads closed at 4 p.m. until further notice; the Alabama Dept. of Transportation also has closed Hwy. 55.