’Sno big deal: Thursday flurries lack staying power
by Laura Camper
lcamper@annistonstar.com
Jan 17, 2013 | 4850 views |  0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jacksonville State University students shield themselves from snow as they walk to class Thursday afternoon. (Anniston Star photo by Trent Penny)
Jacksonville State University students shield themselves from snow as they walk to class Thursday afternoon. (Anniston Star photo by Trent Penny)
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The snowflakes that descended on Calhoun County Thursday afternoon caused a flurry of postponements, but the snow had no staying power. The only evidence of a winter storm warning issued the night before, the afternoon dusting left only wet roads and empty grocery store shelves in its wake.

The predicted 1 to 4 inches of snow never accumulated. But with the temperature predicted to drop overnight and the potential for ice looming local communities prepared for the worst. The Calhoun County basketball tournament scheduled for Thursday night was postponed and the openings of school and government facilities today were delayed for two hours.

However, Anniston Police Chief Layton McGrady wasn’t expecting a lot of weather-related problems, he said Thursday evening.

There were maybe two or three more traffic accidents than during a normal day and he said he expected most would head home and stay there because of the predictions of bad weather.

Anniston Public Works Director Bob Dean was also prepared for the worst. He’d scheduled a crew to work as early as 3 a.m., stocked up on calcium chloride to melt ice on the streets. But he also was expecting problems to be minimized because of the sunny skies and warm weather predicted for today.

“Once the sun hits it,” Dean said. “It’ll clear anything that’s icy.”

While municipal and county officials prepared for potential problems, area residents prepared in their own way for the snow. Grocery stores were seeing lots of customers — lots and lots of customers. The Winn Dixie on U.S. 431 saw an increase in business of 144 percent over the same day last year, said Ashley O’Dell, store manager.

“Of course, it’s because of the snow,” O’Dell said. “Bread, milk, really anything that’s on sale has flown out the door today.”

The Winn Dixie in Golden Springs was also busy, said Mark Junior, store director.

“It always is,” Junior said. “When we heard the forecast, we tried to get in front of it.”

The store had ordered extra shipments of milk, bread, ground beef and bananas, all big sellers before a snowstorm, he said. But really, he said, most customers were excited to see the snow and the day had been fun.

Anniston City, Calhoun County, Donoho, Jacksonville City, Oxford City and Sacred Heart schools delayed operations two hours today. Piedmont City and Cleburne County schools delayed classes until 10 a.m.

The buses will still run. Classes will still go on. It will all just start two hours later, said Anniston City Schools Superintendent Joan Frazier.

All Anniston’s nonessential facilities, including recreation facilities and city hall, along with Calhoun County Courthouse and the Ken Joiner Administration Building are also delaying opening until 10 a.m. today.

Any ice and snow should clear up quickly with predicted sunny skies and a high of about 47 degrees. Saturday is also predicted to be sunny with a high near 52 degrees.

Staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.

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