BENTONVILLE -- Benton and Washington Counties weathered the first real winter storm of the season with few problems to report.
"The county roads are in pretty good shape," Jay Frasier, Benton County's public services administrator and head of the Road Department said Tuesday morning. "The northern half of the county got most of the snow and ice, the southern half got just a few flakes."
John Luther, Washington County’s director of emergency services, said Northwest Arkansas residents should take the time to prepare a “go bag” or winter weather safety kit to place in their vehicles before another winter storm hits. He said the kits should include a blanket, gloves and a warm hat, along with a flashlight with fresh batteries. He said jerky or some other kind of snack food and water should also be included.
Source: Washington County
Frasier said road crews reported 2-3 inches of snow in the northeastern part of the county. Road crews were active before the storm, treating roads, especially hills, bridges and intersections, with magnesium chloride, he said. Frasier said the county has about 5,000 gallons of the chemical on hand.
"By 7 a.m Monday we had road crews out pretreating and we were running all night long," Frasier said. "When the temperatures hit the mid-20s up to around 30 it started to melt and when the temperatures dropped last night we had some refreezing and we've had crews out working where we had the refreezing."
Frasier said county employees reported a low of 1 degree Tuesday morning. He said temperatures are expected to drop to 4 degrees this morning before warming to near 30.
Frasier said the county had few problems with roads, mentioning Gann Ridge Road and the Indian Creek area in northeastern Benton County as two trouble spots. Sgt. Shannon Jenkins, public information officer for the Benton County Sheriff's Office, agreed the storm caused few serious problems.
"We had some accidents with some minor bumps and sliding, but nothing with injuries," Jenkins said, "We were very fortunate."
Bella Vista Mayor Peter Christie said his city got an inch or more of snow but the road department had most of the main roads and secondary streets clear Tuesday morning. He said the city closed Trafalgar Road near Bella Vista Way for about 40 minutes on Monday because of ice on the road but that was the only closing reported.
"Our road department crews worked last night and are out again this morning," Christie said. "Now we're going into the neighborhoods. We've got 550 miles of roads spread out over 47 square miles. It takes a while."
Benton County Judge Barry Moehring delayed the opening of county offices from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Tuesday. He said he wanted county employees to drive in daylight and to give the Road Department some time in the morning to work on any slick spots. He also said with some school districts closing, he wanted to give parents time to make arrangements for their kids.
The Rogers School District announced Tuesday the district will have limited bus service in the Garfield and Avoca areas today. For more information, contact the district's transportation office at 631-3519.
Robert McGowen, Benton County's emergency services administrator, said his office had no problems reported during the storm.
John Luther, Washington County's director of emergency management, said the precipitation from the storm largely bypassed Washington County. He cautioned residents the cold temperatures present a different kind of problem.
"So far, we've fared pretty well," Luther said. "But obviously the temperatures may have some ill effects on our residents. Our roads are in pretty good shape. We prepared for the weather, but it went around us."
Luther said people should be aware of other potential problems associated with the cold weather.
"People should check on their neighbors, especially the elderly," he said. "And you have to consider pets. They need a place to get out of the cold and away from the wind. Space heaters are another issue to be aware of. I know people may need to use them but you have to be careful. I was in the fire service for many years and I've seen too many fires started from space heaters."
Luther also said residents need to check smoke detectors and batteries. If they don't have a smoke detector in their residence and can't afford one, he said, many local fire departments help residents obtain and install smoke detectors.
NW News on 01/17/2018
Print Headline: Counties weather storm with little trouble