FRIDAY: Road conditions continue to render residents homebound

by Jo Anne Embleton

CHEROKEE COUNTY – A break in the weather Friday will be a temporary one, with the National Weather Service issuing a hard freeze warning overnight, and officials advising residents to remain at home until road conditions improve.

“The roads are still extremely icy, and have become more slippery, more dangerous,” said Cherokee County Sheriff Brent Dickson, whose employees have been working around the clock the past several days in response to the most recent winter weather event that spanned the better part of the week.

“We’re still working numerous wrecks this morning that are all over the place, but as the day progresses things will get better,” he said.

Temperatures were expected to rise to 36 degrees, with sunny skies forecast Friday, but NWS – Shreveport’s hard freeze warning – with sub-freezing temps between 10 to 20 degrees and patchy freezing fog – have extended poor driving conditions yet another day.

“The main roads are the better roads to drive on – U.S. 69, U.S. 79 – right now because they’re taken care of (by state crews), but once you get off them, that’s where we are seeing issues,” Dickson said.

Emergency responders have dealt with vehicles sliding off the road, a jackknifed 18-wheeler and stranded motorists who have had to leave their vehicles overnight until they could be tended to.

At one point, U.S. 69 between Rusk and Alto was closed due to poor road conditions.

Meanwhile, Dickson is advising residents to stay home until roads are safer to travel.

“Please do allow us time to get the roads cleared,” the sheriff said. “Hopefully with the sun being out, things will get better today, and hopefully, we can open everything back up tomorrow or the following day.” posts updated information by TxDOT on highway conditions; residents also can call 800-452-9292.