Obion County recovering from Round 2
Posted: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 9:08 pm
By JOHN BRANNON
Two snow storms in a 10-day period. A shock, an alien assault, on the Sunny South.
To borrow a phrase from the late Franklin D. Roosevelt, here are two more days that will live in infamy — Jan. 29 and Feb. 8. Not because of bombs, as in Roosevelt’s day, but weather.
On those two days, big winter storms moved across northwest Tennessee, bringing wet, heavy snow, several inches deep across the landscape and windblown snowdrifts two feet deep.
Union City Police Chief Joe Garner and other officials tell of the storms’ effects on their departments.
“It was snow, not ice,” he said. “Ice is a lot worse on us. With the snow, there was a little increase in accidents, but nothing major that affected us in both rounds. So it wasn’t too bad. But if there’d have been ice, it would have been a different story.”
Obion County Mayor Benny McGuire said the biggest effect was on county roads and the extra expense of clearing away snow and
keeping the arteries open. “That was our greatest expense,” he said.
Obion County highway superintendent Gary Lofton could not be reached for comment.
Obion County Sheriff Jerry Vastbinder said there were several accidents on state and county roads but, overall, it was not so bad. “We didn’t have to put on extra people,” he said. “Last time I’ve seen snow like this was in the 1970s.”
Marlene Mickelson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Ser-vice in Memphis, said in both instances, Jan. 29 and Monday, the blanket of snow on northwest Tennessee ranged from three to seven inches.
And more is on the way, though not as much as before.
“We show snow for Friday, a 30 percent chance,” she said. “Saturday and Sunday, a 30 percent chance, too.”
Even though the two snowstorms were shocking and a mess to manage, it has its positive side, according to Tim Smith, OObion County office director of the University of Tennessee Extension Service.
How so? It puts moisture in the ground.
“And the more moisture soil has, the more organic matter it has, the more available nitrogen. It leaches out of the snow,” he said.