How emergency agencies tackled winter weather in North Alabama

Crews were busy treating roads throughout the night.

Posted: Dec 11, 2019 6:42 PM

The Huntsville-Madison County Emergency Management Agency is refining a new winter weather plan.

However, they have yet to use it for the first time. 

The snowfall Tuesday was just under the threshold. Chris Reed and his fellow officers with EMA spent Tuesday and Wednesday morning on stand by, constantly in communication with various agencies including the police department, public works, and Department of Transportation. 

Reed said things would be different if more snow stayed on the ground longer. 

"We start shutting down our major arteries around Huntsville, whether that be Highway 72, (Interstate) 565 over Chapman Mountain," Reed said. 

Reed said there were some black ice spots, which did cause more than a dozen wrecks across the county. Emergency workers told WAAY31 they responded to at least 16 crashes with injuries in three hours.

However, no roads or highways were pretreated. Both Huntsville and Madison never pretreat roads, even when expecting a winter storm. 

That's because they say these winter storms do not happen enough to invest in the equipment needed to pretreat. They rely on agencies like Alabama Department of Transportation, who have brine ready to go if need be. 

Since there was consistent rainfall ahead of the snow, Alabama Department of Transportation chose not to pretreat any highways. They said the rain would wash away any pretreatment. 

When the snow fell, both Huntsville and Madison Public Works responded, treating troubled areas such as bridges and overpasses.

Chris McKneese with Huntsville Public Works said if a stronger storm was to hit, they would have crews ready to go all day and night.

"We do have teams that we have on standby that are on call, that we'll call in if it's after hours," McKneese siad. 

The Department of Transportation did have crews ready to go and treat as the roads became icy. An official with the department said there was more icing than anticipated. 

Huntsville
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Fayetteville
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Decatur
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Scottsboro
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Reported Deaths: 1077
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6219167
Mobile4625138
Montgomery4397111
Tuscaloosa258652
Madison19839
Marshall190411
Shelby155724
Lee153537
Morgan12415
Baldwin117011
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Dallas9789
Franklin92816
Etowah91914
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Unassigned61627
Limestone5963
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Pike4675
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Jackson4022
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Talladega3677
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Wilcox2998
Chilton2952
Winston2925
Sumter28713
Blount2811
Marion26714
Pickens2626
Monroe2553
Randolph2489
Conecuh2278
Perry2242
Bibb2151
Macon2129
Choctaw20912
Greene1929
Henry1463
Washington1367
Crenshaw1263
Lawrence1210
Cherokee1157
Geneva950
Lamar871
Clay822
Fayette811
Coosa631
Cleburne421
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 59546

Reported Deaths: 723
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby13113219
Davidson12935142
Rutherford342839
Hamilton319637
Sumner187456
Williamson167016
Knox15069
Trousdale15065
Out of TN139710
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Putnam10027
Unassigned9362
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Robertson90113
Sevier8843
Montgomery7127
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Bedford5989
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Hamblen4474
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Madison3472
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Blount3063
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Cheatham2643
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Washington2350
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Anderson1892
Sullivan1892
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Gibson1661
Jefferson1641
Monroe1526
Smith1482
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Decatur280
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Scott260
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