Getting ready

County prepares for wintry mix of ice and snow
Jan. 24, 2013 @ 05:09 PM

Sevier County is getting ready for another blast of wintry weather.

A system of freezing rain and sleet will move in around 7 or 8 a.m. today, said Jessica Winton with the National Weather Service in Morristown.

“There will be ice accumulations of a tenth to three-tenths of an inch,” Winton said. “In the afternoon, [the storm] will change over to rain and move out around 7 or 8.”

Higher elevations may get snow, Winton said, “but there won’t be accumulation like there was last week.”

Today’s temperatures will stay below freezing until 3 or 4 p.m. The high will be 35.

“We’re putting salt out there,” said Jonas Smelcer, road superintendent with the Sevier County Highway Department. County salt crews are concentrating on secondary routes such as Allensville Road and Old Newport Highway.

Solid salt is best for ice, Smelcer said. If snow falls, “We will go to a mix of salt and sand. The sand gives you much better traction than straight salt.”

Smelcer’s department is responsible for more than 930 miles of roads. The Tennessee Department of Transportation deals with the county’s major highways, and cities in the county maintain their own streets.

Sevier County Electric System is keeping crews on standby in case they need to deal with downed power lines.

“Our contract crews normally don’t work on Friday,” said SCES secretary and treasurer Allen Robbins. “We’ve retained our contract crew, and we’re in the process of acquiring additional contract crews.”