Snow falls, alters school plans
by Star staff and the Associated Press
Jan 17, 2013 | 6253 views |  0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A car makes its way up Bain's Gap Road earlier this year. (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
A car makes its way up Bain's Gap Road earlier this year. (Photo by Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star)
The National Weather Service in Calera calls for anywhere between 1 to 2 inches of snow for the Calhoun County area today, with as much as 3 inches in higher-elevation areas. Weather Service meteorologists expect the snow to leave east Alabama between 6 and 9 p.m.

Forecasters initially believed there would be little accumulation throughout east Alabama, aside from grassy areas and rooftops. However, meteorologist Jim Westland said they’re seeing some slush on the roadways throughout the state.

“If it’s still snowing heavy, and you don’t have to get out, don’t,” he said.

Westland said forecasters are unable to predict which roadways will be affected.

Click here to see photos of today's snowfall

Temperatures are expected to drop below freezing after midnight for Calhoun County. Westland said forecasters are hoping the high winds in the afternoon and evening will dry most of the moisture on roadways. However, patches of ice are possible, he said.

According to the National Weather Service, Anniston will have a low of 27 degrees tonight.

Click for a complete list of weather-related closings

Several area schools closed early today, and some others plan to start class later Friday morning. Games planned for the Calhoun County basketball tournament in Jacksonville tonight were postponed to Friday night, with the rest of the tournament schedule to be announced later.

Elsewhere in the state, forecasters were expecting 2 to 3 inches of snow to accumulate in parts of Alabama, with some isolated amounts of up to 4 inches.

Much of the state — including large parts of northern and central Alabama — were under winter storm warnings Thursday afternoon. National Weather Service officials said the warnings are set to expire between 6 and 7 p.m.

A mix of thick snowflakes and sleet fell in the Tennessee Valley region, and Huntsville traffic slowed to a crawl on the bridge spanning the Tennessee River. Snow had begun accumulating on the bridge's guardrails Thursday afternoon, and the river was swollen out of its banks after days of heavy rain across north Alabama. Some areas of the state had received as much as 6 inches of rain since Sunday.

Heavy snow reduced visibility to one-half mile north of Birmingham, and slush piled up quickly on overpasses. Jessica Rey, who works at a Subway restaurant in Decatur, Ala., and lives in Tennessee, kept an eye out as snow fell. Her boss told her not to get stranded at work.

"He told me to leave early if it gets bad," she said. "I live 90 miles from here."

The threat of slippery roads prompted officials to close NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. Engineers postponed an outdoor rocket test to give center workers time to get home.

Some schools opened late Thursday morning because of concerns about slick roads. reports that schools in Cullman, Morgan and Lawrence counties were among them.

The storm system was expected to spread across Northern Georgia and into the Washington, D.C., area. Warnings and advisories were in effect in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland and Washington. The storm hit parts of Mississippi earlier Thursday.

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