Hazardous, icy road conditions were left behind after a winter storm moved through Arkansas on Sunday evening and into Monday morning.
According to meteorologist Jeff Hood with the National Weather Service in Little Rock, total accumulation in the Carlisle and Lonoke area varied from two to four inches over the 24-hour period. Along with freezing rain snow flurries, Hood said the rare “thundersleet,” seen on Sunday evening is the production of sleet rather than rain during a thunderstorm.
Carlisle Police Chief Eric Frank said only five accidents were reported in town as of Wednesday morning, but Arkansas State Police has seen more than its fair share.
“Arkansas State Police have had several accidents on I-40,” Frank said.
From the overpass at Carlisle on Wednesday morning as far as the eye could see East toward Hazen, cars and tractor trailers were bumper to bumper after an accident around 5 a.m. between Lonoke and North Little Rock shut down the West bound lane of Interstate 40.
Lonoke Chief of Police Mike Wilson was unavailable on Wednesday to comment on the total accident count in Lonoke.
Carlisle and Lonoke school districts were both closed Monday and Tuesday due to hazardous roadway and had a one hour delay on Wednesday morning.
“Inclement weather conditions of sleet/ice accumulation on the roadways makes for dangerous traveling conditions for buses, etc.,” Lonoke Superintendent Suzanne Bailey said.
When determining if schools school be closed due to weather or road conditions, Bailey and Carlisle Superintendent Jason Clark said some of the means of determining is by collaborate with neighboring school districts, area leaders, the Arkansas State police and by personally examining roadway and campus conditions.
“The low temperatures kept the ice covering many of the roads until late Tuesday afternoon,” Clark said.
Despite the use of snow days built in the district calendar year, neither district plans to utilize spring break days at this time. The Lonoke School District’s final day of school as of Wednesday, will be Wednesday, June 4, and the final day for the Carlisle School District will be Thursday, June 5.
“Hopefully, this was the last round of significant winter weather this year,” Clark said.
Hood, of the National Weather service in Little Rock, said on Wednesday morning, the afternoon sleet chances for the day are very slight with only a 30 percent chance. He said if any sleet is seen, there will bot be enough to accumulate.
As roads began to thaw on Tuesday and schools reopening Wednesday, many residents are left to wonder if this is the end of winter weather seen before the spring warm up. According to Hood, there is still a potential for snow fall in the coming weeks.
“We are still looking at colder air coming,” Hood said. “We will see what happens.”