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Beware the ice of March

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March certainly came in like a lion as Tipton County became crippled by 3-5 inches of ice that fell on Sunday.

Treacherous road conditions following Winter Storm Titan this weekend prompted many closures, among those a two-day closure of The Leader that affected the paper's publication date.

By Thursday, many secondaries and backroads began thawing, but were still a mess of slush and ice. Schools, government offices and many local businesses have remained closed this week while crews continue their work clearing roadways to make them safer for travel.

"We're trying to blade down some of the ice so it's easier for roads to thaw," said Tipton County Public Works Director Shannon Reed. "We're focusing on the major thoroughfares and trying to make it easier for emergency vehicles, then we'll concentrate on our secondaries."

Reed said the impact is widespread, making many areas more difficult for county vehicles to travel to clear trees and debris blocking roads.

"It was easier to get to the trees in the ice storm a few weeks ago, but getting equipment to the trees is harder this time. Taking a dump truck down these roads is hazardous, so we have to drive the equipment there in other vehicles instead of hauling it. We just don't want to risk our employees or our equipment, which makes it a longer response time."

Schools remained closed Thursday, however many government offices reopened Wednesday despite the unsafe road conditions.

Power outages Sunday and Monday were minimal in comparison to the tens of thousands without power during the last storm three weeks ago.

In addition to downed trees and sloppy roads, which make travel unsafe for school buses, county executive Jeff Huffman said the storm has had its greatest effect on the education system and paying deputies and public works employees overtime.

"Another concern with the overall effect of this storm is the significant decrease in economic activity," he said. "People aren't shopping or eating out because they're still stuck in their homes."

Huffman said the economic impact will be determined when the sales tax report for March sales comes back from the state in May.

Temperatures have been above freezing since Wednesday afternoon, helping thaw the solid ice, and will remain above freezing for the foreseeable future, according to our news partners at Action News 5.

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