Slick Roads Cause
Many Wrecks While
Road Crews Keep
Putting Down Salt
BY KEN LITTLE
Greene County was dealt a late-winter blow this morning, as a persistent snowfall made for slick roads and a slow commute to work for many.
Numerous fender-bender wrecks were reported by local law enforcement, as county and city salt trucks tried to keep up with the steady snowfall.
"They're slick, most of them," county highway Superintendent David Weems said this morning of roads throughout Greene County.
"We're spreading salt, and it's melting most of them," Weems said. "We're doing the main roads first, and then we'll salt the secondary paved roads."
The situation was much the same on Greeneville streets.
"We have three salt trucks out. We've already got to the police department and hospitals and nursing homes, and we'll concentrate on the hills and secondary roads," Public Works Supervisor William Barner said.
Barner said he was surprised at the sustained snowfall, which began in the city about 6:30 a.m.
"It looks like it will continue for a while," he said. "The salt we're putting down is working. It's just a matter of getting to it."
Greene County Schools were closed today because of the snow, although Greeneville City Schools were operating on a normal schedule.
A total of 1.41 inches of rainfall and one inch of snowfall fell between 7 a.m. Tuesday and 7 a.m. today at the county's official weather station, the University of Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center, on East Allen's Bridge Road.
The blast of snowfall and wintry weather was expected to moderate by this afternoon, when the temperature was predicted to rise above freezing.
"It looks like for the Greene County area, we're expecting up to four inches. The trend is for things to gradually wind down this afternoon and slowly come to an end this evening," said David Gaffin, a Morristown-based National Weather Service meteorologist.
The mountains of southeast Greene County could get up to eight inches of snow before the storm is over, with more snow possible at higher elevations, Gaffin said.
"Untreated roads will be slippery," he said. "We are expecting temperatures to rise above freezing this afternoon, and that should help melt whatever snow is accumulated on the roads."
Snowfall this late in the season is not uncommon, Gaffin said.
"The super storm we had back in 1993 was a little bit later," Gaffin said.
That massive storm struck Tennessee and the eastern U.S. on March 13, 1993.
MARCH 'UPS AND DOWNS'
"It's not unusual to get snowfall here in March. That's the thing about March -- you go through a lot of ups and downs," Gaffin said. "You have cold spells followed by warm spells."
This winter has seen "a lot of rain followed by some cold periods with a lot of snow," Gaffin said. "January was certainly a very wet month for the region."
Brighter days are ahead, Gaffin said.
"They will just keep getting better this week," he said. "Highs will be in the 60s this weekend."
That's not what police officers such as Greeneville police Sgt. Shane Matthews were thinking this morning.
"We're working wrecks all over town right now," Matthews said. "They [motorists] shouldn't go out unless they need to."