Lingering snow, ice and brutal wind chill keep some area schools closed

Lingering snow, ice and brutal wind chill keep some area schools closed

January 17th, 2018 by Ben Benton and Rosana Hughes in Local Regional News

Cason O'Connor, 8, kicks up snow as he walks on Walnut Street Bridge Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018 in Chattanooga, Tenn. Cason and his family decided to venture out of their house Tuesday evening when they saw the snow had begun to accumulate.

Photo by Erin O. Smith

This story was updated Jan. 17, 2018, at 1:15 a.m. with more information.

Gallery: Deep freeze brings snow to Chattanooga area

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Several schools in region remaining closed or delaying opening Friday

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Here's a list of school closings/delays courtesy of our news partner WRCB (updated at 7:45 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018):

TENNESSEE

  • Bledsoe County Schools: closed Friday
  • Christ Legacy Academy: opening at 9:30 a.m.
  • Etowah City School: closed Friday
  • Grundy County Schools: closed Friday
  • Marion County Schools: closed Friday
  • Polk County Schools: closed Friday
  • Richard Hardy School: delayed one hour Friday
  • Valley Christian Academy: closed Friday

GEORGIA

  • Chickamauga City Schools: delayed two hours Friday
  • Dade County Schools: delayed two hours Friday
  • Fannin County Schools: closed Friday; 12 month employees report at 10:00 AM
  • Murray County Schools: delayed two hours Friday
  • Union County Schools: closed Friday
  • Walker County Schools: delayed two hours Friday

ROAD CONDITIONS

» Patches of snow and ice have been reported on State Route 111. Both directions in Sequatchie County between Hamilton County and the Sequatchie County line and Sequatchie County and Van Buren County on State Route 111 have patches of snow and ice. Motorists are advised to used caution. 

» W Road and Roberts Mill Road are now open.

» Ochs Highway is still closed at the intersection of Saint Elmo Avenue due to a main water break. Due to extreme cold, Ochs Highway will not reopen until mid-morning on Friday, January 19. Detours will still be in place using Alabama Avenue and West 41st Street.

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WEATHER-RELATED UPDATES

» The East Ridge City Court scheduled for Tuesday will be postponed until Thursday.

» Soddy-Daisy City Court has been canceled. If you do not receive a new court date by the end of the day, please call City Hall 423-332- 5323.

» The Ocoee Region Beekeepers January (Open House) Meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday in Benton, Tenn., has been rescheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 23.

» The Hamilton County Commission meeting scheduled for Wednesday will be postponed one week until Jan. 24 at 9:30 a.m.

» All district offices and health departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens and Whitfield counties will delay opening until 10 a.m. Wednesday. These closings and delays pertain to all the public health services, including Environmental Health, WIC and Child Medical Services. Please refer to www.nghd.org for further updates.

» Due to potential hazardous road conditions caused by the inclement weather, CARTA started its fixed route bus services at 6 a.m. Wednesday and will operate on inclement weather detours.

» All campuses of Georgia Northwestern Technical College will open at 10 a.m. on Thursday, January 18.

» Dalton Public Schools will have a two-hour delay on Thursday, Jan. 18. Dalton Middle School will start at 9:45 a.m. and the elementary and high schools will start at 10:30 a.m.

» Whitfield County Schools will be closed for students and staff on Thursday, January 18, 2018, due to expected hazardous road conditions.

» The North Georgia Health District office in Dalton, Ga., and Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray and Whitfield County Health Departments will delay opening until 12 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 18. The Pickens County Health Department will be closed all day on Thursday. These delays and closings will affect all public health services in these counties, including Environmental Health, WIC and Child Medical Services.

» Chickamauga City Schools will be closed Thursday, January 18.

» Bradley County Schools will be closed Thursday, January 18, due to dangerous icy roads.

» All classes, administrative and academic offices and scheduled events at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga will resume at their regular hours on Thursday, Jan. 18.

» Cleveland City Schools will operate on a two hour delay tomorrow, Thursday, January 18. Buses will run on a two hour delay, and a light breakfast will be served at schools. Twelve month employees will work regular hours.

» Hamilton County Schools will welcome back students and teachers on Friday, Jan. 19, as the system will be open on a regular schedule for the day.

» Recycle Collection Centers and Refuse Collection Centers are expected to be open for regular business hours on Wednesday.

» Catoosa County Government offices delayed opening until 10 a.m. Wednesday.

» Walker County Government offices will delayed opening until 10 a.m. Wednesday. This includes the courthouse.

» Pickens County Health Department closed Wednesday because of icy road conditions. Cherokee, Fannin and Gilmer County Health Departments remained closed Wednesday. The North Georgia Health District office in Dalton and health departments in Murray and Whitfield Counties delayed opening until noon Wednesday. This closing and delay applies to all public health services, including Environmental Health, WIC and Child Medical Services.

» All Northwest Georgia Regional Library branches (Dalton, Calhoun and Chatsworth) closed Wednesday in anticipation of inclement weather and poor morning road conditions.

» Bradley County Sheriff Office's Administrative Offices closed Wednesday because of the inclement weather and dangerous driving conditions. Offices will reopen Thursday, Jan. 18, at 8 a.m.

» All Erlanger physician offices opened at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

» City of Dalton offices delayed opening until 12 p.m. Wednesday.

» Gov. Nathan Deal on Tuesday night issued a state of emergency due to winter weather for 83 counties, spanning much of central and north Georgia. This line extends from Columbus to Macon to Augusta and northward. State government will be closed Wednesday, Jan. 17, in the impacted areas for non-essential personnel. Gov. Nathan Deal on Wednesday announced state government will remain closed for non-essential personnel Thursday, Jan. 18, across the 83 counties impacted by winter weather.

Here's a list of school closings/delays courtesy of our news partner WRCB (updated at 1:15 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018):

TENNESSEE

  • Athens City Schools: closed Thursday
  • Berean Academy and Daycare: delayed two hours Thursday; drop off available at 9 a.m.
  • Bledsoe County Schools: closed Thursday
  • Bowman Hills School: delayed two hours Thursday
  • Boyd Buchanan: opening at 8:30 a.m. Thursday; starting at 8:45 a.m.
  • Bradley County Schools: closed Thursday
  • Calvary Christian-Brainerd: closed Thursday
  • Chattanooga Charter: closed Thursday
  • Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy: closed Thursday; no PM activities
  • Christ Legacy Academy: closed Thursday
  • Cleveland City Schools: delayed two hours Thursday
  • Cleveland State - all sites: opening at 11 a.m.
  • Cumberland County Schools: closed Thursday
  • Etowah City School: closed Thursday
  • Fairview Christian Academy: closed Thursday
  • Grundy County Schools: closed Thursday
  • Hamilton County Schools: closed Thursday
  • Hickory Valley Christian: opening at 10 a.m.
  • Marion County Schools: closed Thursday
  • McMinn County Schools: closed Thursday
  • Meigs County Schools: closed Thursday
  • Notre Dame: delayed two hours Thursday
  • OLPH: delayed two hours Thursday
  • Ooltewah Adventist School: delayed two hours Thursday; drop off starts 9:30 a.m.
  • Orange Grove Center: no buses Thursday; staff report at regular time
  • Polk County Schools: closed Thursday
  • Rhea County Schools: closed Thursday
  • Richard Hardy School: closed Thursday
  • Sequatchie County Schools: closed Thursday
  • St. Jude Catholic School: delayed two hours Thursday
  • Sweetwater City Schools: closed Thursday
  • Tennessee Wesleyan University: opening at 9:30 a.m.
  • Valley Christian Academy: closed Thursday
  • Van Buren County Schools: closed Thursday

GEORGIA

  • Catoosa County Schools: closed Thursday
  • Chickamauga City Schools: closed Thursday
  • Dade County Schools: closed Thursday
  • Dalton Public Schools: delayed two hours Thursday
  • Dalton State College: delayed four hours Thursday
  • Fannin County Schools: closed Thursday
  • Georgia Northwestern Technical College - all campuses: opening at 10 a.m. Thursday
  • Murray County Schools: closed Thursday
  • North Georgia Technical College - all campuses: closed Thursday
  • Oakwood Christian Academy: opening at 9 a.m. Thursday
  • Trion City Schools: closed Thursday
  • Union County Schools: closed Thursday
  • Walker County Schools: closed Thursday
  • Whitfield County Schools: closed Thursday

___

UPDATE: Major arteries across Southeast Tennessee, North Georgia and Northeast Alabama this morning are in good shape, generally, but there are a few slick spots and reports are that secondary roads across the region have scattered areas slippery black ice or are even frozen solid.

POLL: Did winter weather affect your commute Tuesday?

In Hamilton County, secondary roads are still slick in many areas but most major roads are in good condition, according to Mike Dunne, spokesman for the county mayor's office.

Dunne said Hamilton County Highway Department crews will begin putting down sand on secondary roads during the day Wednesday.

Bradley County Sheriff's Office spokesman James Bradford said major roads are fine but "secondary roads are solid sheets of ice."

"State roads along with frequent traveled roads that were pretreated seem to be fine," Bradford said. "Those roads may have some patches of ice."
Marion County Emergency Management Agency director Steve Lamb said most road there are in good shape and U.S. Highway 41 is clear.

"Side roads  are still bad because they haven't been treated," Marion County Sheriff Ronnie "Bo" Burnett said. He said there had been no accidents or power outages reported this morning though there were a few minor wrecks overnight.

Sequatchie County Sheriff Ronnie Hitchcock said State Highway 111 was solid white but with salt, not ice or snow.

"They threw so much salt on it looks like they poured a bag of sugar on it," Hitchcock said early Wednesday.

"We have a fine mist of snow right now," Hitchcock observed. "It's just 7 degrees in town. On the mountain, it's probably 1 or 2. But traffic's moving."

In Rhea County, Sheriff's Office Sgt. Garland Wilkey said roads there were "not bad."

"Watch for black ice in shady spots," Wilkey said. "But highway(s) 30 and 27 are fine."

Traffic maps managed by the departments of transportation in Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama show almost no problems in the tri-state area.

There are two areas where there are patches of snow and ice on State Highway 111 in Sequatchie County between the Hamilton and Van Buren county lines, according to the TDOT SMARTWAY Traffic map. Otherwise, Interstates 75 and 24 are clear with no backups or incidents.

GDOT's Navigator map shows clear sailing for traffic on I-75 south of the Tennessee state line all the way to Kennesaw.

In Alabama, the ALGO map shows potentially slippery areas on I-59 north of Gadsden and on U.S. Highway 72 near the interchange with Alabama Highway 35 at Scottsboro.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at www.facebook.com/benbenton1.

___

Snow, icy roads, bitterly cold temperatures trigger school closings in Chattanooga region

ORIGINAL STORY: Snow reached the Chattanooga region a bit later than expected Tuesday, but it was still enough to justify school and business closings, with forecasters warning of icy road conditions Tuesday night and through Wednesday.

Road conditions are expected to still be dangerous Wednesday, especially ones less traveled.

While snow was expected to reach the city at around 11 a.m. Tuesday, flurries weren't seen until about 12:30 in Hamilton County, while amounts in downtown Chattanooga were minimal until closer to 2 p.m. Light snow kept falling off and on into the evening, slowly collecting on cars and grass.

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Forecast

Wednesday
High 26, Low 14

Thursday
High 40, Low 21

Friday
High 48, Low 20

Saturday
High 54, Low 38

Hamilton County Highway Department employees were out spreading brine Tuesday morning on Hamilton County's main roads and continued to do so until the snow finally arrived.

Officials in Grundy and Marion counties said snowfall was steady all day but there were few traffic problems and no power outages. Hamilton County did not experience any power outages, either, EPB spokesman John Pless said.

Marion County Sheriff Ronnie "Bo" Burnett said the snow never fell heavily, but it was steady.

"What I'm afraid is going to happen is we're going to get just enough to freeze up," Burnett said. "I'm more worried about later on tonight and [Wednesday] morning. I think it's supposed to get down to about 10 or 11."

That is what forecasters were most concerned about, too.

"The roads become very slick, and any hills are hazardous," WRCB Chief Meteorologist Paul Barys said as the storm closed in on Chattanooga. "It's almost impossible [to drive] up or down, four-wheel drive or not, because you're not getting stuck, you have no traction. If you have 20 wheels, it won't make any difference."

Icy roads were still Barys' main concern even after the snow stops, since temperatures were expected to drop into the low teens by nightfall in the city, and the snow was projected to keep falling until about 7 p.m. When temperatures don't warm up, the snow continues to compress itself as cars drive over and roads become icy.

With that in mind, the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office announced the closure of the W Road and Roberts Mill Road heading up Signal Mountain and into Walden until conditions improved.

Back in Marion County, EMA director Steve Lamb said Tuesday's snow accumulations hadn't amounted to much but he had seen some ice beginning to form on a bridge he crossed on his way home.

Lamb said that officials in Marion had already called off schools, but he noted that the courthouse would probably be open for business.

Grundy County Sheriff Clint Shrum said snow continued in most of the area all day. He said the north end of the county near Altamont had already accumulated an inch or an inch and a half by midday Tuesday.

While snow fell continuously, the sheriff said there hadn't been any problems with electrical power or serious traffic accidents as of Tuesday evening.

"It's uneventful and that's how we like it," he said. "I imagine in the morning it'll be a different story."

"The temperature has not been out of the teens all day. No melting."

Because of the lack of warmer weather to melt the snow and the anticipation of freezing temperatures again Wednesday, many schools in the region announced they'd remain closed.

Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport announced the cancellation of a pair of Delta Air Lines flights: a departure from Chattanooga to Atlanta and an arrival from Atlanta to Chattanooga.

The winter weather also affected several states across the South in addition to Tennessee. Interstates in Louisiana were shut down. A number of highway crashes were reported in Kentucky, and Texas airport runways were closed.

Forecasters called for up to 6 inches of snow in the central part of the state, including the Nashville area. But the Tennessean's latest snow totals stood at about 3 inches in parts of Nashville.

Nevertheless, the icy roads posed a threat to commuters. A Greyhound bus collided with a tractor trailer on Interstate 65, injuring seven and closing southbound lanes.

By nightfall, the temperatures were so cold that salt was no longer melting the ice.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at www.facebook.com/benbenton1.

Contact staff writer Rosana Hughes at rhughes@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6327 with tips or story ideas. Follow her on Twitter @HughesRosana.

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