Strong winds could down more trees, power lines

Thursday, February 14, 2008

As roads crews worked to get a grip on damage done to trees and power lines by the ice storm that ravaged the region Monday, high winds expected to move in today may cause further wreckage, according to the National Weather Service. In Bollinger County, the Department of Conservation sent crews to help with clearing gravel roads so emergency vehicles could get through, a situation report from the State Emergency Management Agency said.

Most of the major roads in Bollinger County were opened by 4 p.m. Wednesday, though Route B was temporarily closed earlier, said Calvin Troxell, associate director of Bollinger County's Emergency Operations Management.

Secondary roads remain in fairly bad shape, and public safety personnel have had to use personal vehicles that had four wheel drive to make emergency calls in many cases, Troxell said.

Cape Girardeau County suffered heavy damage to telephone poles and trees, through secondary roads were nearly 90 percent cleared by Wednesday afternoon, the SEMA report said.

Crews in Cape Girardeau began work around 7 a.m. Wednesday, clearing trees and ice from the roadways, said Steve Cook, assistant public works director.

There was some additional freeze-over during the night Tuesday, but warmer temperatures have contributed to some of the improvement in the condition of even the secondary roads, Cook said.

"Sunshine will help," he said.

Right now, the focus is still on just getting trees and debris off the roads so they are passable to traffic, Cook said.

The ice could be gone by as early as Friday, as a warm front is expected to move in today said Michael York, a metrologist at the National Weather Service in Paducah, Ky.

Not much melting occurred Wednesday, but temperatures today are expected to reach the low 50s, so a lot more melting is expected, York said.

Winds up to 30 mph are also expected to move in at some point this afternoon, which could bring down trees and limbs still standing, York said.

With the added weight of the ice, the strong winds could easily down branches and power lines, and more power outages could occur, according to a wind advisory in effect for Cape Girardeau, Bollinger and Scott counties.

Lows tonight should be not dip below freezing, York said.

By Friday, most if not all of the ice still clinging to trees and power lines should be melted, just in time for a new system bringing another wintery mix, York said.

Snow mixed with mostly sleet is expected Friday, with a possibility of freezing rain.

The accumulation will not be nearly as much as the last storm, he said.

335-6611, extension 245

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