Winter Storm 2014

By Lynette Norris Greene Publishing, Inc. For the first time since 1958, schools in Madison were closed for “snowdays” Wednesday and Thursday, as a precaution, after freezing weather and icy conditions on roads caused pileups in the Atlanta area Tuesday afternoon, trapping hundreds of homebound motorists and even busloads of schoolchildren in stalled traffic for up to 18 hours. While Atlanta officials endured criticism for not having foreseen the situation, Madison officials decided safety first when it comes to the county’s schoolchildren, closing the schools and most government offices. Sleety rain and freezing temperatures were predicted in Madison for Tuesday and Wednesday nights. At various times during the day Wednesday, residents reported snow flurries in Greenville, up near Hanson and out along SR 53. Word of I-10 being closed down began filtering in early Wednesday afternoon, and motorists driving home toward Tallahassee saw the snow flurries and sleet hitting the windshields, especially when passing through the Greenville area of I-10. Some people saw a few small icicles hanging from the roof, porch railing or mailbox. Porch steps might have had a small accumulation of sleet, but the ground was mostly just cold and wet. Driving to work, people may have noticed other cars with a thin sheet of frozen sleet and rain on the roof. “We got lucky here in Madison,” said Tom Cisco, Director of Emergency Management. “I think the temperature didn’t get below freezing overnight,” he added, even though the National Weather Service had predicted overnight lows in the mid-20s for both nights. The reports EMS had indicated most of the flurries were in the northwest part of the county. By Thursday morning, morning radio news shows were issuing reports of I-10 being closed from Madison County west to the Alabama line. The Florida Highway Patrol confirmed that there were some patchy areas of ice on the road, and that people could get on the Interstate at mile marker 242 and travel east. As of press time, the I-10 section remained closed, but with a good possibility of being re-opened later Thursday as daytime temperatures warmed up. The FHP also stated that its communication office would put out an official press release within a few days as to whether or not there were any accidents on I-10 as a result of the weather. Meanwhile, early morning radio news reports reminded motorists that roads other than I-10 might have wet, slippery or icy patches as well, and to use caution when driving to work.


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