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Road conditions improve as temperatures rise

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was originally published January 16, 2013 at 7:59 a.m. Updated January 16, 2013 at 11:04 a.m.

this-map-provided-by-the-arkansas-department-of-highways-and-transportation-shows-conditions-around-the-state-just-before-11-am

This map provided by the Arkansas Department of Highways and Transportation shows conditions around the state just before 11 a.m.

— Slick roads the day after a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain prompted dozens of schools to cancel or delay classes Wednesday, but conditions were improving later in the morning as temperatures rose.

The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department reported about 11 a.m. that some ice and snow remained on the state's major highways, particularly in the northeast quarter. But the agency's online map showed a number of highways clear after being listed as slick earlier in the day.

The interstates in Little Rock, which had been icy earlier Wednesday, were said to be largely clear. And most of the southern half of the state was clear. Highways in the Pine Bluff area, however, still had snow on them.

Randy Ort, a spokesman for the Highway Department, said crews worked through the night to treat and clear roads around the state and will continue doing so as the day progresses.

The storm was particularly problematic because it came in the middle of the day, affected much of the state, wasn't predicted very far in advance and involved icy precipitation.

"It only takes a fraction of an inch [of ice] to really mess up traffic," Ort said. "It's a lot more difficult for our crews to deal with ... I think this illustrates that just a very small sheet of ice can be just as treacherous if not more treacherous than a couple inches of snow."

The weather service said temperatures across the were expected to rise above the freezing mark by midday. In Little Rock, it was 37 degrees at 11 a.m.

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