More snow possible

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, February 5, 2014

In all his years with the Troy Fire Department, Chief Thomas Outlaw says the department has never had to put chains on the tires of the trucks. Winter Storm Leon changed that.

In the week since Leon blew through Pike County, city and county officials have been debriefed in order to assess the area’s response to the severe weather and determine what could be improved.

County Administrator Harry Sanders said there were no deaths and no serious injuries as a result of the storm. He credited the county’s and city’s early decisions to close roads.

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“It was a very conservative approach to take in order for folks to be safe,” he said.

Sanders also praised the work of Jeanna Barnes, director of Pike County EMA, and Russell Oliver, county engineer, for the long hours each put in during the storm.

“They were very professional and did their best to try to serve the people of Pike County,” Sanders said.

Many county workers worked 24 hours straight to ensure the roads and bridges were safe for motorists.

“I think everyone did an outstanding job,” Sanders said. “I was proud to serve with them.”

According to the National Weather Service, the area may be put to the test once again. Thursday’s forecasts include a chance of rain, snow and overnight temperatures below freezing.

“I know, it’s crazy,” said Barnes said Wednesday afternoon. “But they’re saying the likelihood of winter precipitation is south of the I-85 line.”

Barnes said forecasters are urging that conditions could change, but as of 3 p.m. Wednesday forecasts called for wintry precipitation to begin falling between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. Thursday.

“They’re forecasting rain transitioning to wet snow, but they do not anticipate any ice or any accumulation on roadways,” she said. “We could see up to half and inch of accumulation in grassy areas.”

Troy Mayor Jason Reeves said the city would be monitoring weather forecasts and will prepare as necessary. Lee Hicks, superintendent of the Troy City Schools, said officials will monitor the weather closely but have made no decisions regarding postponing or cancelling classes.

Gary Goggins, a meteorologist with NWS, said not to expect a repeat of last week’s severe weather conditions. He cited two differences in today’s forecast and Winter Storm Leon.

“The big difference between this event and the last event is the temperatures are going to be above freezing and that’s a good thing,” Goggins said. “We’re not expecting any accumulations, either.”

The forecast calls for temperatures in the mid 30s and may rise as high as the 40s. Goggins gave a 12-hour window (from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.) where Pike County could see a mix of rain and light snow.

The greatest concern will come after midnight when temperatures could drop below freezing. The rain will have ended, but any precipitation left on the roads could ice and cause unsafe conditions, especially on bridges.

Unlike last week, those icy bridges and roadways will not last. Temperatures are expected to rise well above freezing Friday afternoon.

“This is still a very uncertain forecast with regard to where the rain and snow will be,” Goggins said.