Residents, crews watch the skies Wednesday for signs of snow
by Brian Anderson
banderson@annistonstar.com
Feb 12, 2014 | 3861 views |  0 comments | 51 51 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A motorist passes along on US Highway 78 past an iced over Fruithurst Town Limit sign during freezing rain Wednesday morning.  (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
A motorist passes along on US Highway 78 past an iced over Fruithurst Town Limit sign during freezing rain Wednesday morning. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
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Road crews, public safety workers, shelter volunteers, power companies and pretty much everyone else in Northeast Alabama played the waiting game most of Wednesday, as the changing forecast kept pushing back expected snowfall.

Already on standby for the winter storm that never materialized Tuesday, Calhoun County Engineer Brian Rosenbalm said the county’s Highway Department couldn’t do anything but watch the Weather Channel all afternoon.

“You hate to go out and do something before the snow arrives,” Rosenbalm said around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday from the Highway Department’s shop at McClellan, where he said his crews were just trying to pass the time. “We’re ready to go as soon as it comes.”

The National Weather Service initially said freezing rain would fall on most of the county before noon, but by 3 p.m., the temperature in Anniston was still above 32 degrees. At press time, snow was predicted to start falling in Anniston after 6 p.m.

“Anniston is kind of right on that line,” said Krista Sumrall, a meteorologist with the Weather Service’s office in Calera. “You could see 2 to 3 inches, but there could be a lot of variation depending on where you are.”

Sumrall said contrary to forecasts Tuesday, on Wednesday snow was expected to fall in Anniston after midnight, though the accumulation predictions didn’t change much.

Bob Dean, Anniston’s public works director, said at 3 p.m. street crews were “locked and loaded” as they waited for the storm. On Monday, police cars and city vehicles were outfitted for the conditions with tire chains and piles of salt and sand, and dispersed throughout the city.

“We’ve had some slushy conditions in north Anniston, but no ice,” Dean said. “So far nothing’s deteriorated to the point where we had to put anything on the road.”

Dean said crews were monitoring potentially dangerous spots like the bridge on Alabama 202 near Glen Addie; the intersection of Henry Road and Veterans Memorial Parkway; and areas north of McClellan.

Rosenbalm said the Highway Department spent Wednesday morning cleaning drainage pipes and making sure vehicles were fueled up. The department received one call Wednesday morning about hazardous conditions, but it turned out to be a false alarm, he said.

“We had one complaint about ice, but our crews checked it out, and we reached a different conclusion,” Rosenbalm said.

Staff writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.

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