Schools closed, reopened; more ice possible today

Wednesday, December 15, 2010
"Home Sweet North Pole" seems more relevant now than when this snowman was placed.

County schools were closed Monday because of snow and reopened Tuesday when single digit temperatures kept the county bitterly cold, raising questions about the prospect of an ice storm.

Meanwhile, the Marshall County school board meeting originally scheduled for Monday night was postponed until Thursday night, according to an announcement from the central office at Jones Circle.

Today, there's a chance of an ice storm, according to National Weather Service Meteorologist John Cohen who peered into the computer models one week before the official first day of winter.

"Unfortunately, it might be" an ice storm, Cohen said. "I don't want to discount it any. The problem is that the ground is frozen. If we get freezing precipitation, it's going to stick, unless that surface is heated.

"It looks like the precipitation will come in sometime during the day Wednesday," he said. "It could start as snow flurries in the morning and then during the afternoon, we'll see that it might start as ice pellets and the change to freezing rain.

"If we get lucky, it would remain ice pellets," Cohen said emphasizing that the cold ground might allow the pellets to blow around on the ground, but that "If you get freezing rain Wednesday afternoon there may be accidents."

When freezing rain lands on the cold ground, there's a potential for black ice, he said, advising motorists to remain cautious.

"It doesn't look like a major ice storm," the meteorologist said. "It will not be a great amount, but even a thin layer of ice on the roads can be dangerous ... Wednesday afternoon when workers are going home."

While salt deliveries were needed in neighboring Shelbyville, Marshall County Roads Superintendent Jerry Williams said, "We've got the roads pretty well salted. Some of the very back roads might have some slick spots. We can't put salt on oil and chip road because it will deteriorate them, but we will put some on the hills anyway."

Williams was concerned about roads refreezing overnight, and that was a point made by Cohen.

This Wednesday evening and night the precipitation "will change over to all rain and that will melt what's been here, but that damage might have been done" to motorists suffering mishaps, collisions, or worse.

At the Highway Patrol post in Lawrenceburg, Dispatcher Donald Kittrell reported no emergencies by 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. Monday's log showed a crash with no injuries and a car hit a deer on Interstate 65 in Marshall County and another in Hickman County.

"We haven't had any bad wrecks, but we've had some motorist assists from 4:30 p.m. Monday to now," Kittrell said. "There were two crashes in Marshall County on Monday morning, both on State Route 272."

One was near Double Bridges with no injuries when a vehicle stopped against a fence. The other was when a green SUV clipped another vehicle and kept on going on Verona Caney Road, THP officials said.

Tonight's weather changes, Cohen said.

"The temperatures will warm during Wednesday night," the meteorologist said. "Around sunset they'll be about 30, but they will warm up, believe it or not, to 40 degrees. We've got a warm front coming in.

"Southern winds will pick up overnight and the warmer temperatures will come in.

"Thursday we'll still see rain showers and get a little colder and then the precipitation should end," he said.

The forecast "is a little tricky" with the weather further south, he said turning to another display: "Thursday; chance of light rain with a high near 50 and a low in the 30s that night... More rain Friday with temps in the mid 40s being the high Friday.

Saturday has a slight chance of rain with the high in the low 40s.

It's interesting with the new data," he explained. "We have a surface low tracking across the Gulf, but the models now don't show the track across the north as strong."