SNOW DAY: People head outdoors during winter weather

Published 4:00 am Thursday, January 18, 2018

With temperatures in the mid-20s and windchill values in the single digits, Sonya Motley and her son Ford put on their best winter gear and grabbed some cardboard boxes and headed out the door.

The Westville, Florida natives drove all the way up to Troy Tuesday to spend the rare snow day opportunity with two of their friends from Westville that are currently studying at Troy University, Delilah Basson and Lacy Stafford.

“We just got a caravan and came up here,” said Sonya Motley. Ford, Basson and Stafford then climbed to the tip top of the slope next to Bicentennial Park and laughed as they raced down the hill head-first – some tries more successful than others.

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The friends were just a sample of the many people from Pike County and beyond that got outdoors Tuesday to enjoy the approximately two inches of snow that fell overnight.

Troy University student Birdie Howell said she was happy to just look at the snow-covered landscape.

“It was so exciting to see the fresh, fluffy snow,” Howell said. “Everything just looks so much prettier covered in snow. I would definitely suggest gloves next time though if you want to build a snowman.”

While many went out to play, most places of business shuttered their doors Wednesday morning with the exception of a few places. Some other stores tried to open at noon, but when temperature projections dropped and it became clear that the roads would not be thawing Wednesday, several of those businesses changed course and decided to remain closed for the entirety of the day.

But with just one store open, Jeanette Maddox said she just had to go.

“(U.S.) Highway 231 was OK,” Maddox said. “But this road here behind the MRI place, I had to drive on the wrong side of the road to make it.”

Melissa Lusk and her husband braved an even longer journey to Birmingham for a doctor’s appointment.

“We got all the way to Pine Level and had to turn around,” Lusk said. “U.S. Highway 231 was just too bad.”

Some residents chose not to venture out of their homes at all Wednesday. State and local officials had advised residents to stay off roads Tuesday if at all possible with nearly all roads icing over, including U.S. Highway 231.

“U.S. 231 from Ozark to Troy is experiencing major issues with ice on the roadway causing traffic to completely stop,” Nelson said in a release Wednesday. “The Dothan and Troy Trooper offices are currently working and responding to a multitude of traffic crashes most of which are due to the icy conditions. All roads and bridges in the southern 10 counties we serve are considered very dangerous to drive on.”

Although the highway has been mostly cleared up, interim EMA director Herbert Reeves said local roads will likely refreeze tonight as below-freezing temperatures Wednesday prevented them from thawing.

“We’re urging caution that people that don’t need to be on the road until temperatures get back up above freezing tomorrow,” Reeves said. “The bigger concern tonight on roads that aren’t well-traveled is the buildup of black ice.”

Reeves said Troy City Schools and Pike County Schools would both be closing again due to the risk of icy roads Thursday morning, and Pike Liberal Arts School and Covenant Christian School all announced Thursday closures. Troy University, however, will open as normal.

The National Weather Service in Birmingham forecasts a low of 17 Wednesday night before temperatures rebound to a high of 43 Thursday.