Winter wonderland

Craighead County road crews spent most of Monday and Tuesday plowing snow from county roads inundated with as much as 10 inches of the white stuff. Despite their efforts, traveling anywhere in Northeast Arkansas was hazardous at best. More snow – up to 6 inches – is forecast for today and tomorrow.

Winter wonderland

JONESBORO — Today should be clear with a high of 27 degrees, which is among the warmest temperatures seen all week.

John Sirmon, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Memphis, said this week’s winter storms dumped 8 to 10 inches of total snow accumulation in Jonesboro as of Thursday.

Roads crews all over the region – on state, county and city levels – spent the week battling it out as two winter storms hit the region.

David Pierce, Arkansas Department of Transportation district maintenance engineer, said state road crews have been working 24 hours a day, separated into two 12-hour shifts.

“We have been doing the best we can to keep up,” he said.

Pierce said improvement was seen in road conditions on Tuesday, after Monday’s storm went through, mostly due to crews working around the clock.

Now that the storms have passed and warmer weather is slowly creeping in, Pierce said crews will work to clear the roads for good.

“The worst areas are the secondary highways,” he said. “We have concentrated on the main highways, the interstates and the U.S. highways.”

Pierce said crews now hope to get more snow off the roads. “We will use salt and brine to loosen up that layer of ice that has bonded to the pavement,” he said.

If weather forecasts are correct, Pierce said all the roads should be clear by Sunday.

Sirmon said Sunday’s forecast shows a high in the 40s. “Late Sunday we will see a chance of rain come back into the area,” he added.

Despite local road crews’ best efforts to keep roads clear, local law enforcement and other agencies have been busy responding to calls related to road conditions.

Craighead County E-911 Director Jeff Presley provided a data report early Thursday. The numbers reflected just how dangerous road conditions were from Feb. 7 to Feb 18.

According to the report, authorities responded to the following calls: 90 stalled vehicles, 142 car crashes with no injuries, and 10 car crashes with injuries. The report also indicated Craighead County Fire Departments have responded to 222 calls, and the Craighead County Sheriff’s Office has responded to 316 calls.

“I think the roads will steadily improve,” Presley said.

Sgt. Shay Racy, with the Jonesboro Police Department, issued a word of caution to motorists as road crews work to clear the highways.

“Make sure you have some sort of communication device, even if it doesn’t have minutes,” he said. “You will still be able to call 911.”

Racy said residents should also prepare in advance before they venture out. “Get blankets, an extra set of clothes, and a pair of boots,” he said.

Racy said city crews are doing the best they can to keep up.

“It’s not going to be a whole lot longer before everything starts melting,” he said.