Winter storm batters county, forces closures and cancellations

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The first major storm of the winter season struck Switzerland County this week; and as the major front continues to pass over this area, county officials are continuing to battle to keep roadways clear.

County Highway Superintendent Edd Cook said that every road in the county was slick and snow-covered on Tuesday morning; and that his crews were out in force trying to keep the roadways cleared.

“We went out on Tuesday morning at our regular time,” Edd Cook said. “You pretty much have to wait until most of the stuff is on the ground before you can treat it; so we are mainly pushing it off of the roads until it stops.”

Edd Cook said that he has been watching the radar and traveling county roads checking for trouble spots, and with more snow and sleet coming into the area overnight on Tuesday and into the day on Wednesday, his best advice is to stay home.

“The County Commissioners declared a Level Two Snow Emergency early Tuesday morning,” Edd Cook said. “They closed the courthouse and are trying to keep people off of the roads unless they really need to be out.”

A Level Two Snow Emergency means that residents should stay home and off of county roads unless there is an emergency situation; and the county is hoping that the weather will get under control as the week closes.

“The commissioners will keep the Level Two in effect for probably the next couple of days,” Edd Cook said on Tuesday. “With the snow backed up to the west of us, it’s probably going to stay in effect for awhile, so people just need to use good judgment.”

Edd Cook said that the county is treating the roads with cinders and salt; and he warned motorists that even though the snow may be pushed off of the roadway, the roads are not completely safe.

“Even though they’re pushed off, they’re going to refreeze and are extremely slick,” he said.

He said that once the weather front moves through this area, county highway crews will continue to scrape the roads; and will be putting treatment down. Until then, he’s asking for patience.

“We can’t put down salt and cinders on top of the snow with the snow falling,” Edd Cook said. “The storm is still strung out across the country, and we’re working as quickly as possible to get things cleared off.

The county has nine trucks and three graters pushing the snow, and the entire crew is waiting to begin the next phase of work once the precipitation quits.

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The storm also hit the Switzerland County schools, as the week began with a two-hour delay on Monday; followed by schools being closed on Tuesday and yesterday (Wednesday).

Athletic director David Todd said that Tuesday’s scheduled girls jayvee and varsity games at Rising Sun are now scheduled to be played this Monday, February 2nd, at 6 p.m.; and that tonight’s (Thursday’s) game with South Ripley will be determined once the weather stops.

With both the Rising Sun and South Ripley games being conference games, they must be played before the girls sectional begins the following week; and with home games with Southwestern next Tuesday and Madison Shawe next Thursday to close the regular season – it looks like it’s going to be a busy week for the Lady Pacers.

There was also supposed to be a boys freshman basketball game played on Tuesday at home with South Ripley.

David Todd said that no make up date has been set for that game, and with the ORVC Freshman Tourney scheduled to kick off this Monday, the game may not be made up.

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More heavy snow hit the area yesterday (Wednesday) morning, with as much as five more inches falling on the county.

After the ice and sleet on Tuesday, the new snowfall late Tuesday night and early yesterday morning saw power outages around the county as power lines fell under the weight of the precipitation.

After a break in the precipitation today, more snow is expected tomorrow (Friday); with more showers expected on Sunday. More snow is then expected next Tuesday and Wednesday; with some sunshine in line for next Thursday.