“We have had several weather-related issues, issues with traffic, mainly,” said Capt. Billy Murray of the sheriff’s department. “As of (Tuesday afternoon), everything is open for business. It’s definitely improved as the day has gone on.”
Patrice Payne, assistant director for the St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency, said Tuesday morning that an advisory from the Alabama Department of Transportation cautions that hazardous driving conditions existed on Interstates 20 and 59, and all state highways in the county.
She said the Alabama Department of Transportation asked that everyone refrain from driving on state roadways Tuesday.
Payne said there is still ice, snow and slush on roadways and bridges and hazardous road conditions, mostly in North St. Clair County.
“We hardly had any storm-related accidents,” Payne said. “I think people stayed off the roads.”
As of Tuesday, however, hazardous road conditions remained in St. Clair County, Payne said, especially in the higher elevations.
“There are still some roads that are impassable in north St. Clair County,” Payne said.
The bulk of the storm rolled in Sunday night, dumping snow and ice all over the state. Freezing temperatures immediately following the storm ensured hazardous road conditions, as well.
The storm threat sent locals to the grocery store to stock up. Mike McCullars, store supervisor for Piggly Wiggly in Odenville and Ashville, said the first thing customers always purchase when winter storms hit are milk and bread.
“They also hit our charcoal section pretty heavy too,” McCullars said. “A lot of people don’t think about their propane tanks in case of a power outage.
“Snow we can handle. It’s the ice and freezing rain that generally knocks the power out. Sandwich meats, ground beef, can items, hamburger and hot dog buns are items that get hit pretty hard. We had extra items ordered that can get here by trucks.”
Joyce Keith, store manager at Piggly Wiggly in Odenville, made sure the shelves were stocked with plenty of milk and bread.
“We have plenty of milk and bread and when we run out, we have more coming from the warehouse,” Keith said. “These shelves are full right now, but will probably be empty by tonight. We had a bread truck arrive Saturday night and a grocery truck Sunday. We had the necessary items our customers needed during the winter storm.”
In Pell City, police chief Greg Turley said accidents were down during the snowstorm that hit Central Alabama Sunday night, making hazardous driving conditions Monday.
“People were prepared and stayed off the road,” Turley said. “We didn’t have any serious incidents or accidents.”
Turley said roads in Pell City were in good shape Tuesday morning because of the work by the city’s Street Department.
City offices opened at 10 a.m. Tuesday, and the county offices opened at noon.
Mayor Bill Hereford commended the work by the Police, Fire, Street and Water departments.
Schools in Pell City, St. Clair and Leeds remained closed Tuesday. Bobby Hathcock, superintendent of Pell City schools, said students were expected to return to school at the regular scheduled time Wednesday morning.
Jenny Seals, superintendent of the St. Clair County School System, said they made the decision to close schools again Wednesday because too many roads in the northern part of the county were impassable.
“The safety of our children and faculty have to come first,” Seals said. “Several roads were still slushy and icy late Tuesday afternoon, and with temperatures dropping in the teens Tuesday night, we knew Wednesday morning school bus traffic would be hazardous.”
Kristina Sumrall, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Birmingham, said temperatures were expected to hover in the low 30s today. She said 34 degrees was the expected high.
She said overnight temperatures were expected to reach in the low to upper teens tonight, and temperatures Wednesday were not expected to get above the freezing mark. Wednesday temperatures are expected to be 29-30, and Thursday temperatures are anticipated to reach the 33-34 degree mark.
Sumrall said Friday temperatures are expected reach the upper 30s to the low 40s.
Murray said county authorities, as well as travelers, will have to remain vigilant into the weekend.
“It’s always a concern,” he said. “We’re just going to have to monitor everything and see how it flows from there.”
St. Clair Times reporter David Atchison contributed to this story.