The weather wasn't supposed to become this nasty today; but, this is Arkansas, right?
The National Weather Service in Shreveport, La., issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook in connection with a Winter Weather Advisory this morning which covers much of Southwest Arkansas, and warns concerning deteriorating conditions for a mixture of snow, sleet and freezing rain in various parts of Southwest Arkansas.
Icing was already occurring on bridges and overpasses at 8 a.m., according to the Arkansas State Police, with at least one traffic accident confirmed this morning on the overpass at Interstate 30 and Melrose Lane. No injuries were reported as a result of the accident, but it illustrated the deteriorating nature of travel conditions as snow began falling shortly before 9 a.m.
Officially, the NWS contends that temperatures should rise above freezing in the early afternoon; but, that was questionable, according to NWS Senior Forecaster Bill Adams.
“It's just basically hanging around,” Adams said. “It should be out of here sometime today or tonight; but, temperatures are going to hold steady as long as we have this rain continuing.”
He said the chances for freezing precipitation with any substantial accumulation were still minor; up to a tenth of an inch expected.
“I don't know about major problems, but there will be problems,” Adams said.
The official NWS weather statement reflected that conclusion.
“Snow and ice accumulations are expected to be less than one-tenth of an inch,” the NWS said. “Elevated surfaces such as power lines and trees will be prone to icing. In addition, travel will likely become hazardous...
“Any liquid precipitation and/or melting that occurs will refreeze tonight,” the NWS said. “Additional light freezing rain or sleet will be possible tonight.”
Rural roads in Hempstead County were already showing signs of icing in places, according to Hempstead County Roads Superintendent Anita Tompkins.
“It's nasty right now,” Tompkins said at press time. She said roadways were becoming slick in places, and the Arkansas Highways and Transportation Department was working on bridges and overpasses.
AHTD District Engineer Don Donaldson said this morning that state crews had prepared for the event Monday night.
“We did some pre-treatment on the bridges on the interstate, and the railroad overpass on the bypass here in Hope,” Donaldson said. “Right now, the only icing we've got is on our bridges.”
Hope Water and Light Corp. General Manager Jim Kirchhoff said no trouble spots had been isolated in HWL power transmission and power rights of way have been cleared sufficiently to keep tree limbs away from electrical lines in most places.
Schools in Hope remained open throughout the day, but classes were dismissed early in Prescott, according to school administration officials.