The winter storm that deposited more than 2 feet of snow in some parts of the Northeast left McMinnville with an official total of 3.5 inches and some parts of the county with more than that.
“There were 8 and 9 inches of accumulation in some areas of the county and we were having to move snow drifts as deep as 3 feet,” said Road Superintendent Levie Glenn, whose department worked around the clock throughout the weekend in what seemed, at times, to be an unwinnable battle against Mother Nature. “We would put down salt and come by with the plow and it’d just fall again right behind us and the temperature was making it hard for the salt to work. It got down into single digits at one point during the weekend.”
Glenn said the road department used 150 tons of Morton’s salt to combat the ice, much of which was made worse by heavy rain that preceded the snow that started before noon Friday.
“Since we had the rain, the snow stuck to the road very quickly,” Glenn said. “We were using four salt trucks and five snow plows and it just kept coming right behind us.”
Glenn said sunshine Sunday, along with higher temperatures, helped turn the tide, although some roads like Upper Faulkner Springs Road remained closed even Sunday after several cars became stuck on the treacherous hill.
According to official accumulation totals recorded at McMinnville Water Plant, there were 3.5 inches of snow that fell at the water plant in West Riverside. Plant manager Ricky Morton noted that accumulation totals were higher north of town and atop Harrison Ferry Mountain and the snow was preceded by 2 inches of rain.
E911 director Chuck Haston said the 2 inches of rain had some areas on the verge of flooding.
“Finger Bluff Road was flooded and it was covered by snow,” Haston said of the double danger presented by the storm when it blew into Warren County.
Haston said the most issues felt by motorists happened during afternoon drive time Friday, between 3 and 6 p.m.
“Because school was out and everyone knew this was coming, I think a lot of people got where they needed to be and stayed there, reducing the issues,” Haston said, noting the problems were encountered by people who were leaving work in the afternoon. “We had reports of 22 stranded motorists or motorists running of the road.”
Haston said the number was light since the record during a snow for reported accidents is 40. He also said 911 received no calls about power outages.
“This was by far less than we’ve seen in the past,” Haston said, pointing out with the accumulation there could have been many more problems.
Haston said he had talked with the local emergency management agency about emergency shelters if power failed, but the contingency plan did not have to be put in motion.