Local officials say they're ready for worst of winter weather

Dec. 25, 2012 @ 11:29 PM

With forecasters calling for a wetter than normal winter, starting with this week’s soggy weather and threat of snow, local officials say they are well prepared to keep the roads clear.

The National Weather Service has said the winter outlook for the Tennessee Valley is for “wetter than average” weather, but doesn’t hazard much of a guess on temperatures. NWS officials say chances are equal that the winter could be warm, colder or stay within the average.

The local forecast for the week calls for a chance of rain or snow this weekend, with temperatures dropping.

Whatever the weather brings, local officials say they’re ready to keep roads as safe as possible.

“We have prepared the best we possibly can," County Road Superintendent Jonas Smelcer said. “We have over 1,000 tons of salt and sand mixture right now and we have five small trucks in the shop where the temperature’s warm, so if this happens we’re ready to go.

“Everything we can do to get ready other than put the (salt) on the trucks, we’ve done.”

Sevierville’s Public Works Department is ready, spokesman Bob Stahlke said, with more than 600 tons of salt and 1,000 gallons of calcium chloride.

“This is a much better supply than we have had in the past few years,” he said. “Equipment and staff are prepared as well."

n jfarrell@themountainpress.com