Logan County was frozen last Wednesday and Thursday as winter precipitation in the form of ice closed schools and caused numerous traffic problems.
The ice event began around 10 a.m. last Wednesday and by early afternoon numerous accidents were being reported and schools and some government offices were closing. Schools remained closed last Thursday but students returned to class on Friday.
As for accidents, the Logan County Sheriff’s Department reported 18 in the county and 24 cases in which officers provided other weather-related assistance over those two days. In Paris, Police Chief John O’Brien reported three accidents where there was property damage or personal injuries.
"Thursday was worse than Wednesday and 1,000 time worse than the early December snow," said Logan County dispatcher Dwayne Burleson. "The back roads were pretty bad Wednesday and Thursday and we had two reports of school buses getting stuck Friday."
Buses were reported stuck on ice on Six Mile Road and River Mountain Road last Friday.
"Road conditions were treacherous, as bad as I’ve ever seen them," O’Brien said. "What made it worse was that roads looked wet but it was actually black ice. We had several reports of vehicles off the road or in ditches. The wreckers were hopping."
Mike Frederick, owner of Mike Frederick’s Body Shop, said he responded to 15 calls last Wednesday and Thursday. Ed Williams, owner of Ed Williams Body Shop, said his wreckers responded to "not over eight. Not that many," wrecker calls. Dustin Hice of Hice Towing and Recovery in Paris, said they responded to four or five wrecker calls last week.
The ice event, during which an estimated 10th of an inch of ice fell, made nearly all exposed surfaces slick and treacherous.
Perhaps the most treacherous spot in the county last week was Mount Magazine State Park, the highest spot in the state. Park Superintendent Becky Bariola said roads in the park were covered by a solid sheet of ice but there were no accidents last Wednesday.
"That’s because no one can get up here," she said.
Bariola was also asked about temperatures on the mountain.
"It was 29 degrees last night but I can’t tell you what it is now," she said. "That’s because the device that records our temperature froze."
On Thursday, there were four cars on top of the mountain that were off the road surface.
"It was awful," Bariola said. "We had to leave them on ice until the highway department could get up here with some sand."
The freezing temperatures also caused problems with water pipes.
"We had at least five calls about broken water pipes," O’Brien said. "The pipes feeding the sprinkler system at the old pants factory on South Elm burst and water was all over the floor. The fire department had to go in and shut off the water."
The ice event forced temporary closure of several state highways in the county. No county roads were closed, according to Logan County Judge Gus Young.
"We didn’t have trees across the roads like we did in early December," Young said. "We’ll have a lot of pot holes because of this wet weather. We’ll be running graders and filling pot holes as soon as weather permits."
And, weather is permitting this week. The forecast calls for a break from winter weather for the next several days with plenty of sunshine. Highs are predicted to be in the 40s and 50s for the remainder of this week.
But don’t let this week-long thaw fool you.
According to the calendar, there are 10 more weeks of winter ahead of us.