Winter storm update, County roads/offices reopen 10 a.m. Thursday, but schools remain closed

Published 10:51 am Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A winter storm that hit South and Central Alabama Tuesday, in addition to ice and snow, brought with it school, office and road closings in Lowndes County, as well as fun times in the snow for children.

The winter storm forced Lowndes Academy to let school out early at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday and to remain closed Wednesday and Thursday and forced Lowndes County Public Schools to be closed Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Lowndes County Emergency Management Agency Director David Butts closed county offices at 12 noon Tuesday and all day Wednesday and closed Lowndes County Roads after 6 p.m. Tuesday.

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He said the roads and county offices will reopen Thursday at 10 a.m.

The business offices of Pioneer Electric Cooperative in Selma and Greenville closed at 12 noon Tuesday. And it was announced they would remain closed Wednesday due to the inclement weather.

Plans were to re-open on Thursday at 9 a.m., according to Cleveland Poole, vice-president of economic development and legal affairs for Pioneer Electric Cooperative.

He said Wednesday, “At this point, no storm related outages have been reported, but work crews are standing by for problems as the day progresses. For outages, please call 1-800-533-0323.”

Jim Stefkovich, meteorologist in charge for the National Weather Service in Birmingham, which is located at the Shelby County Airport in Calera, said, “We had very cold air in place near the surface, but over the southern half of Alabama we had warm air aloft, which meant that when the precipitation started, it initially started out as freezing rain and sleet. And then it transitioned to snow as the entire atmosphere went below freezing.”

He said, “That’s why we initially had icing problems down around Lowndes and surrounding counties, then followed by snowfall.”

Stefkovich said there were from 1-3-inches of snow in the Lowndes County area.

“Complicating matters was that temperatures were well below freezing yesterday (Tuesday) all day and we’re only expecting to get above freezing today (Wednesday) for a few hours and then statewide 10 to 15 degrees tonight,” he said. “So, we won’t see widespread warm up above freezing until late morning on Thursday.”

He did not have specifics, but said there were issues in the area on bridges and overpasses that were left untreated. He said the low for Montgomery was 19 degrees as of 8 a.m. Wednesday.

Butts said Wednesday morning that Lowndes County roads were closed for the day for precautionary reasons, but everything went pretty smoothly.

As can be seen from submitted photos from the Benton and the Trickem areas of Lowndes County, there was a fun side to the snow for children who enjoyed sledding and playing in the white stuff.