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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Weather wreaks havoc in county

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Traffic was light, but members of the Brazil City Street Department were out Thursday evening monitoring the roads. A winter storm started to hit the area earlier in the day and a winter storm warning is in effect until later tonight.
With Clay County included in a winter storm warning issued by the National Weather Service until 7p.m., today, local officials are keeping a close eye on the weather radar as they prepare for the next round of foul weather.

Depending on the path of a low-pressure front, NWS meteorologists expect snowfall to total less than an inch with freezing rain and sleet causing ice to build up to a quarter of an inch.

This will cause travel difficulties, but Clay County Highway Department Supervisor Pete Foster told The Brazil Times his department members are ready to clear the 700 miles of county roadways.

"We're ready to go," Foster said around 4 p.m. Thursday. "The salt and sand boxes are on the trucks, but we're just waiting for it to calm down out there so we can hit the roads."

Using the salt/sand mixture after a weather front passes through the county and the weather conditions taper off is a way for the highway department to maximize the department's winter supplies.

"We will have enough (salt and sand) for this time, but if there is anymore winter weather, we'll only have sand to use," Foster said. "This late in the season there's shortage of salt and we'll be out like all the other departments, but we'll make (what we have) stretch as far as possible."

Slippery roads and limited visibility also means the potential for accidents as motorists take to the roadways.

"We don't change any of our procedures because of bad weather. This is really nothing different for us," Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton said about the department being ready for winter weather conditions. "Emergency response personnel have to be ready to respond all the time, not just in an emergency situation."

Heaton urges drivers to use caution while driving.

"Adapt your driving to match that of the road conditions, and go slow," he said. "And don't make any unnecessary trips that you don't have to."

Icy build up on power lines could also cause power outages.

Duke Energy District Manager Rick Burger recently told The Brazil Times that freezing temperatures, especially icy conditions, have a way of testing the integrity of power lines.

Power lines tighten during winter months because of cold temperatures and the additional weight of ice, which causes them to fall down or break.

Burger said line technicians are on standby 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week in case of power outages because, "When there is a problem, it's our job to get the lights back on as soon as possible."

To report a power outage, Burger said Duke Energy customers need to contact the company's toll free customer service number at 1-800-343-3525.

If high winds or ice build up causes a tree to fall on power lines or to block roadways, officials urge residents to not go near the area but to report the incident to the Clay County Justice Center at 812-446-2535.

Although cold temperatures and a chance for snow is expected for the weekend, according to WTWO Meteorologist Jessie Walker's forecast, another winter weather system is expected to arrive early next week.

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