County spared worst of winter storm
Continued cold, high winds could bring power outages, however
Bruce Alsobrook | News-Telegram Editor

Jan. 15, 2007 - Hopkins County largely escaped the worst of the winter storm that left much of the state slip-sliding away Monday morning.

How the storm's remnants will affect school schedules Tuesday remains to be seen, however.

Sulphur Springs Police Lt. Rex Morgan, the city's emergency management coordinator, opened the Emergency Operations Center at 4 a.m. today, about the time that Texas Department of Transportation trucks were sanding bridges and overpasses. The city of Sulphur Springs Street Department also went on standby shortly after 4 a.m.

But while a few tree limbs were downed by the weight of icy branches and some intersections were a bit slick, for the most part the weather's impact was mild.

"We had a couple of accidents reported, mainly cars spinning out on Interstate 30," Morgan said. "There weren't any injuries."

Some short-term electrical power outages were reported. The first shut off power at the Hopkins County Sheriff's Office, where they learned one of two batteries needed to start up the diesel generator had failed. Emergency 911 calls were temporarily routed to the Sulphur Springs Police Department, and a new battery was installed to fix the problem.

The sheriff's office also fielded a few reports of cars running off of roads.

The precipitation essentially ended about 7:30 a.m The next chance for any wet stuff isn't expected before Wednesday, when there's a chance of a light dusting of snow.

The biggest concern now is how the roads will fair overnight, and whether or not windy conditions will cause more power outages.

"TXU had several crews out this morning, but they don't foresee any more problems unless the wind picks up," Morgan said.

Once winds pick up above 15 miles per hour, he said, the higher the chances are of jostling tree branches snapping and falling under the added weight of the ice, taking down power lines with them.

Morgan also said after a statewide conference call with the Texas emergency operations center — the third in 36 hours — there were expectations that the sun would be peeking out from behind the clouds later in the day. Coupled with drier air coming in, that should help evaporate moisture on the roads.

But any wet stuff left behind after dark is certain to freeze — the overnight low is forecast at 24 degrees. School adminstrators won't decide whether to call off or delay classes until they review road conditions in the morning. They recommend tuning in to KSST radio (1230 AM) in the morning for announcements about the status of classes.

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