Monday, January 25, 2016

TOP STORY >> Waking up to winter wonderland

Leader staff writer

 Just as Jacksonville Mayor Gary Fletcher finished giving his State of the City address at Thursday’s council meeting, City Attorney Bobby Bamburg leaned over and showed the mayor a text he had just received. It read, “Main Street bridge is starting to ice over.”
The council meeting was adjourned, and city hall was emptied within minutes.
Thursday night’s drizzle, rain and sleet gave way to snow, and area residents awoke to five to seven inches of winter wonderland on the ground.
The snowfall broke the 1995 record of four inches for Jan. 21 in North Little Rock.
Many of the area school districts announced Thursday night that there would be no school Friday.
But the Pulaski County Special School District held off until 5:12 a.m. Friday to notify parents and students that there was no school.
Little Rock Air Force Base personnel were asked to report two hours later than normal on Friday to give city, county and state crews a chance to clear, sand and salt roadways.
The snow and the ice Thursday night and Friday morning left about 200 without power in the area, but most were expected to be back on by late Friday.
John Walton, manager of Kroger in Jacksonville said Thursday was “a rockin’ day.” He said Friday afternoon that the store had plenty of milk, but was low on bread. “I don’t think we’ll see one of our bread vendors today,” he noted.
Most police and fire departments reported that everything was pretty quiet.
Sherwood Police Sgt. Jason Hopkins said the biggest problem was people out enjoying the snow on their four-wheelers. “We’ve had reports of them on the school football fields and on major roadways,” he said.
Jim Ransom, with public works, said the Sherwood’s major roads were fine, but there were still issues on the side streets. “But, overall, we’ve had no big problems.”
Capt. Carl Minden, with the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department, said Friday the focus for most of the day had been a fatal shooting in eastern Pulaski County. (See story in Saturday's edition of The Leader.)
I know the weather impacted the roads and caused some issues, but nothing major has been reported to me,” he said.
The snow will probably stay in the area over the next few days as highs hover in the mid to high 30s and lows dip into the 20s, but no snow is in the forecast for next week.
Charlie Pruitt of Cabot was on his front-loading tractor Friday, earning some extra spending money and free meals by clearing snow from parking lots.
“I was clearing my driveway and people stopped and asked me to do theirs,” Pruitt said. Each job takes about an hour, he told The Leader.
“The roads look to be in pretty good shape, if you don’t get too reckless,” Pruitt said.