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Counties ready for wintry weather
Ice and sleet could make traveling dangerous Thursday morning; many schools will start classes late

By Sheryl Marsh · 340-2437

Officials of local counties say that if you awaken to icy weather Thursday, they’re prepared to deal with it.

Johnny Cantrell, a planner with the Morgan County Emergency Management Agency, said it will be on standby.

“It looks like we’re on the outside edge of the bad part,” Cantrell said. “We may get some ice and sleet, and if we do, we will activate the Emergency Operation Center to monitor the weather and communicate with emergency responders.”

The center is in the basement of the courthouse.

District commission shops are prepared, also.

District 2 shop foreman Scotty Stinson said sand-spreading machines are ready to go if icy weather hits.

Employees on call

District 1 Commissioner Jeff Clark said his shop employees are on call.

“We’re ready,” Clark said. “We’ve got the spreader truck loaded with sand.”

District 3 Commissioner Kevin Murphy said his employees are on call and his shop equipment, which includes a truck loaded with sand, is ready.

District 4 Commissioner Stacy George said, “We’ve got sand in the back of trucks and salt spreaders ready to go. We’re expecting the worst to be at Union Hill, the highest elevation. We will monitor that closely tonight.”

Lawrence County Commission Chairman Mose Jones said workers there were on standby to deal with any weather-related emergencies on county roadways.

The county didn’t plan to close any roads but would do so on an as-needed basis, he said.

“We try to maintain most of the well-traveled roads like County Road 150 going out to Champion and places like that,” said Jones.

County engineer Gordon O’Neal said the county has sand trucks and loads of sand in case the bridges get iced over.

“That’s pretty much normal operating procedure,” said O’Neal.

Jones asked anyone who sees roadways blocked by debris or other problems associated with the weather to call the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department dispatch at 974-9291.

Delaying class

Meanwhile, some area schools were already making the decision Wednesday evening to delay Thursday classes. Athens State University will open at 9:30 a.m.

The University of North Alabama delayed classes until 11 a.m.

Public schools will open in Decatur, Hartselle and Morgan County at 9:30 and in Lawrence County at 10:45.

Limestone County Schools will delay buses and opening by two hours, said Superintendent Barry Carroll.

Athens city schools had no plans to close or delay classes as of press time, but Superintendent Orman Bridges Jr. said officials would make an announcement as early as possible.

Staff writers Kristen Bishop and Seth Burkett and Assistant Metro Editor Franklin Harris contributed to this report.

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