EARLY WORK ... Snow plows and snow blowers were out well before sunrise in downtown Decatur today. City of Decatur snowplows were out even earlier. (Photo by J Swygart)
TONIGHT'S COUNTY SPELLING BEE IS POSTPONED. ALL SCHOOLS ARE CLOSED. ALL RED GOLD SHIFTS ARE OFF.
Decatur received four and a half inches of snow overnight, but the big one apparently is yet to come.
The National Weather Service said one to two inches of snow is possible in the Decatur area today, followed by another two to four inches tonight.
Snow and freezing rain are said possible before 1 p.m., with widespread blowing snow after 1 as winds at 15 to 20 mph from the northeast are expected. Tonight, forecasters said, we can expect snow and sleet, possibly mixed with freezing rain. East winds tonight are predicted to reach 25 to 30 mph, with gusts up to 40 mph.
A high of 21 today and a low of 19 tonight are called for.
The weather bureau said more snow and sleet, possibly mixed with freezing rain are likely early Wednesday, turning to all snow after 7. Widespread blowing snow is forecast, due to winds from the north at 15 to 20 mph. Another one to two inches of snow and sleet are said possible.
Then the bitter cold sets in, with a low of 8 forecaster for Wednesday night, followed by a high of 15 on Thursday and a low around 3 below that night. A high near 21 is expected Friday, with a low around 20.
Decatur Street Superintendent Jeremy Gilbert said city streets were "snow-covered, slick and hazardous" this morning as the first round of plowing got under way. One city snowplow left the city garage at midnight; the other nine plows hit the streets at 3 a.m., Gilbert said.
"It hasn't been too bad so far," Gilbert said. "There's a lotta snow and some drifting. It will take us some time to get over all the streets the first time, then we'll see what this afternoon brings."
Gilbert said that county emergency officials had not yet enacted any restrictions on vehicular travel, but he nonetheless urged motorists to travel only when necessary later today.
"I would not encourage anyone to be out (on the roadways) at all later today. It will only hamper our efforts," Gilbert said.
Trash collection was taking place as scheduled today. Wednesday's collection is "still up in the air," he said.
Adams County Highway Department Supervisor Mark Mitchel reported at 8 a.m. today that while all county roadS had not yet been plowed, most were passable.
"We've got four to six inches of snow out there but we're making pretty good progress," he said.
Mitchel said highway crews would remain on the job until conditions get so windy that blowing snow makeS it impossible for drivers to see the road. He said the county is currently using 12 big trucks, two pickup trucks, and two graders to try to keep county roads open.