FEBRUARY 1, 2007 - Posted at 5:48 a.m. CST, updated at 6:58 a.m. CST, updated at 7:46 a.m. CST, updated at 1:39 p.m. CST
JONESBORO, AR - Northeast Arkansas and southeast Missouri residents awakened to a blanket of snow this morning, but they probably weren't surprised to see it, as snow began falling in most areas of Region 8 early Wednesday afternoon. In fact, the surprise came that the snow arrived earlier than most forecasters anticipated.
Practically all Region 8 schools are closed today, as are many public service agencies and their activities. In Jonesboro, city sanitation supervisor Royce Leonard says sanitation routes have been delayed by one day. Normal Thursday routes will be operated tomorrow, while crews will run Friday routes on Saturday.
Most traffic in Craighead and Greene counties was flowing smoothly this morning, considering the circumstances. However, at approximately 7:30 a.m., the Greene County Rescue Squad was dispatched to an accident on Hwy. 135 in the Oak Grove community north of Paragould, where a tractor-trailer rig reportedly overturned. There were no serious injuries in the accident.
Law enforcement authorities from across northeast Arkansas and the Missouri Bootheel were taxed with numerous traffic accidents yesterday afternoon, so much so that they were unable to respond to some of the mishaps. K8 News has learned of one traffic-related fatality from yesterday. It occured on Interstate-55 in Mississippi County, when 69-year-old Alta Sue Craig of Tyronza was southbound and lost control in the snow, crossing the median and crashing with a tracor-trailer.
The travel situation became so treacherous that Jonesboro's Mall at Turtle Creek closed early at 5 p.m.
State and local crews have worked overnight, sanding roads and plowing snow where needed.
The combination of today's traffic and warming temperatures have resulted in mostly clear roads and streets for now in the Jonesboro area.
Meanwhile, a National Weather Service forecaster says Arkansans shouldn't be breathing any signs of relief just because they may not be able to see snowflakes in the air this morning. Meteorologist John Lewis of the weather service's North Little Rock bureau says more wintry weather is on the way.