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Forecasts predicted a thin sheet of ice would coat north Arkansas this morning.

That could make for a dangerous commute to work.

"The National Weather Service is calling basically for what we consider a glaze -- a tenth of an inch of ice," Danny Straessle, a spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Transportation, said Tuesday.

"But if it's one-tenth of an inch or 2 inches, the result is the same," he said. "You can lose control of your vehicle. Overconfidence in the morning is what we're concerned about. We'll be working throughout the night to get a handle on it."

Straessle said workers were busy Tuesday afternoon treating highways in north Arkansas in an attempt to prevent water from freezing on the pavement.

Salt brine was applied in Northwest Arkansas, and rock salt was used in north-central and northeast Arkansas, where rain was likely to wash away the brine, he said. Bridges and overpasses in Little Rock also were being treated, Straessle said.

But even with the salt treatments, "there will be ice patches out there," he said.

The weather service issued a winter weather advisory that included 22 of Arkansas' 75 counties by late Tuesday afternoon. In those 22 counties, ice accumulation was expected to be about one-tenth of an inch.

"A winter weather advisory means that periods of snow, sleet or freezing rain will cause travel difficulties," according to the National Weather Service. "Be prepared for slippery roads and limited visibilities, and use caution while driving."

Eleven other Arkansas counties were under an ice storm warning for Tuesday night. Those counties were Clay, Cleburne, Craighead, Greene, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Lawrence, Randolph, Sharp and Stone.

Total accumulation could exceed two-tenths of an inch of ice in the parts of the Ozark Mountains in those counties, according to the forecast. There also could be light icing this morning in higher elevations of the Ouachita Mountains.

Joe Goudsward, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in North Little Rock, said a quarter-inch of ice was enough to start breaking tree limbs and bringing down power lines.

"The morning drive up in that part of the world could be treacherous," he said of north Arkansas.

Goudsward said the ice should melt by early afternoon.

"It's going to blow through here fairly quickly," Goudsward said. "The afternoon doesn't look nearly as daunting."

The area of winter weather would be north of Interstate 40 in west Arkansas and north of a line from Searcy through Poinsett County in east Arkansas, Goudsward said. He said northeast Arkansas would probably get the worst of it because there would be more moisture in the air there.

Ernie Blackley, chief deputy at the Izard County sheriff's office, said they had checked all their generators and put studded tires on all their "Crown Vics and Mercurys."

"All our rigs are full of gas, and I guess we're ready for action," he said.

Robert Griffin, the county judge in Independence County, said his road department had installed spreader beds on the back of pickups so they could put aggregate and salt on rural roads.

Griffin said they were expecting a low of 28 degrees at 8 a.m. today in Batesville, but it would be 37 degrees by 1 p.m., so any ice should melt by then.

The high temperatures in north Arkansas are expected to be in the 40s on Thursday and the 50s on Friday.

Metro on 02/07/2018

Print Headline: 33 northern counties brace for sheet of ice

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