"We plan for the worst and hope for the best," Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton told The Brazil Times early Tuesday morning. "Last night wasn't too bad. As for what comes next, we are in wait and see mode. We have a couple of contingency plans in place, but which one we use depends upon the weather."
Heaton said two property damage accidents were reported overnight, which took place in the lower part of Clay County. No injuries were reported.
The foul weather created some changes at the sheriff's department.
"There have been some scheduling changes. We're putting two men in a vehicle to run calls as a safety precaution. We are also mainly using the SUVs right now, because they can get around a little better," Heaton said. "But, if we get any more ice, that won't matter much because no vehicle gets around well on ice."
The department also provided assistance to a local hospital employee stranded by the weather on the way to work Tuesday morning.
"But we really got busy when the ice started causing tree limbs to break and fall on power lines and in roadways," Heaton said.
According to information provided by Duke Energy Tuesday morning, 63 Clay County residents were reported without power, while 10,369 total throughout the area.
Below-freezing temperatures and falling ice-encased tree limbs, according to Clay County Highway Garage officials, kept department personnel and local firefighters out in the frosty elements throughout the night.
While ice is a problem all over the state, highway officials confirmed to The Brazil Times that most of their reports of falling limbs have been coming from the northern part of the county. A large portion of the calls centered around areas north of Staunton and along Rio Grande Road.
The frigid weather is also a problem. Until temperatures rise above 20 degrees, officials report the salt mixture will not work properly, and although trucks are fitted with snowplows and ready to go, plows won't work on ice.
However, highway department personnel said they are working on the problem.
"Most of the county roads are currently ice covered and slushy in places, with some areas having standing water," Heaton said. "The state roads are pretty clear right now."
However, officials aren't encouraging residents to drive anytime soon.
"Unless it's an absolute necessity to get out, like a medical emergency or something like that, people should just stay home where it's safe," Heaton said.