Like a lot of people, I drove home around 5:30 p.m. Friday with a few snowflakes blowing downtown. Streets were clear. The decision to close schools early and the early departure of many downtown workers seemed kind of silly.
Perhaps it was a false sense of comfort — or an idea that powdery snow wouldn’t be as serious a road hazard as ice — but there were a lot of people on the road after the snow started falling around 6 p.m. or so and, boy, did they pay a price.
Bumper car scenarios played out all over town and hilly stretches toward the west became impassable. TV news accounts included a woman who said she’d been stranded four hours on the I-430 bridge. Many cars were abandoned. A State Police release gives a flavor of last night’s situation.
Arkansas State Troopers in the metropolitan Little Rock and Hot Springs areas are answering calls for assistance coming from many dozens of motorists who are stranded or who have run-off the highways as a result of snowfall that has blanketed much of central Arkansas tonight.
There are a few reports from some of the crash scenes that involve injured motorists who have been transported to area hospitals. Most of the crashes do not involve injuries and are not blocking traffic.
State Troopers are asking area residents to stay off the roadways tonight in an effort to reduce the volume of traffic which will allow emergency vehicles to more easily to the crash scenes.
At this time the State Police does not have an accurate estimate of the number of crashes or calls for assistance. Operators at State Police Communication Centers in Little Rock and Hot Springs are asking for patience of those motorists calling-in to request assistance.
If possible, motorists involved in a crash or those unable to negotiate through the snow are asked to move their vehicles to the shoulders of the highways and out of the way of moving traffic.
For a good roundup of the mess, here’s a link from Channel 4 of Twittter photos they compiled from the scenes.
SATURDAY MORNING UPDATE ON LR STREETS FROM THE LRPD
The Little Rock Police Department has worked dozens of accidents during our current snow event. Any vehicle that was abandoned on the roadway and considered a traffic hazard will most likely be towed to open up the roadways for city crews to plow and treat the streets. There are no street closures in the city, however we are asking that citizens stay off of the roadways.