LITTLE ROCK Because of snow and freezing rain in central Arkansas overnight, Gov. Mike Beebe has put the state's inclement weather policy into effect for state offices.
Under the policy, all nonessential personnel at state offices in Pulaski County are to report to work at 1o a.m. In the rest of the state, agency directors or the highest-level field supervisor will determine whether to implement the policy there as well.
Oaklawn Park Track announcer Terry Wallace said Thursday icy track conditions in Hot Springs have led to calling off live thoroughbred the four days of racing through Sunday. General manager Eric Jackson said horses hadn't been able to train much this week.
"We had a meeting with horsemen this morning and it was unanimous to close the track," Jackson said. "The horsemen have not been able to train much this week and the prospect of further wintry weather over the next day or so meant that it was unlikely we'd see any improvement in the surface before the weekend."
The snow that struck Northwest Arkansas earlier than expected Wednesday left school districts scrambling to round up bus drivers and send students home early.
There were some light snow and freezing rain overnight in central Arkansas, but very little accumulation. Major highways were mostly clear with a few ice patches on bridges. A few road closings were reported around the city. Specifically Barrow Road was closed in the early morning hours between I-630 and Kanis Road.
State police said a woman was killed Wednesday in snowy conditions on Interstate 55 when her vehicle slid across the median and crashed with a tractor-trailer. Police identified the woman as Alta Sue Craig, 69, of Tyronza. She was southbound on the highway at about 3 p.m. when she collided with the big rig headed north.
"There's just one cold air mass after another moving in," National Weather Service meteorologist John Lewis said early Thursday. "All you need is a system from the southwest to bring some moisture, and you've got the potential for some winter weather."
And that's about to occur again, said Lewis, who works at the agency's main Arkansas office in North Little Rock - and probably again after that.
Snow that fell Wednesday afternoon and into the night in northern and central Arkansas moved out of the area, but Lewis said the respite would be brief.
"We're looking at more snow for about the northwest half of the state (Thursday afternoon), and rain in the southeast half, and the rain may be mixed with sleet," he said. "Some areas may pick up another one or two inches of snow."
Much of the wintery weather moved north of the central Arkansas area. Strong flurries were reported overnight south of Little Rock, with some accidents along I-30 near Malvern.
The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville called off classes Thursday, as did Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Arkansas Tech in Russellville and University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
For local weather radar and forcast, check ArkansasOnline weather.
For more information see today's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Subscribers can read the story here on ArkansasOnline.
Information from The Associated Press contributed to this story.