John De Block, warning coordinator meteorologist, said the big worry with ice storms is the potential for power outages as ice-logged branches and limbs fall.
“We’re looking at quarter- to half-inch accumulations of ice,” De Block said. “The weight of the ice alone may be enough to cause power interruption.”
The ice may be compounded by up to 2 inches to 4 inches of snow that could fall overnight adding to the weight on the trees and power lines, he said.
While the ice was not yet sticking to the roads at 4:30 p.m., Robbins said the Cleburne County Emergency Management Agency imposed a curfew on travelers on county roads from 6 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday as a precaution.
“Hopefully, that will keep people home,” Robbins said.
Alabama Power spokeswoman Alyson Tucker said Heflin was already experiencing a power outage, but she was unsure of the cause.
About 1,900 customers were without electricity at 11:30 a.m., she said. There were crews on site working to fix the problem, Tucker said. There was no ice on the lines at the time, Tucker said.
Tucker said there isn’t anything the power company can do in advance to mitigate the effects of an ice storm.
“We really just have to be prepared and ready to respond,” Tucker said.
Shannon Robbins, Cleburne County engineer, said that just before noon roads were still clear in Cleburne County. Temperatures were still hovering around 32 degrees and the light rain wasn’t freezing on pavement.
He had just driven Cleburne County Road 24, one of the usual trouble spots for the area, and it was still clear, Robbins said.
“I’m encouraged by that,” Robbins said.
He said, however, that some trees were starting to accumulate ice.
Temperatures in the area should be in the low 30s and upper 20s as colder air flows into the area, De Block said. But on Thursday, temps should rise above freezing by noon all over Cleburne County, so any ice and snow should be short-lived. But the damage they cause may take longer to fix, De Block said.
Staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.