PEMISCOT COUNTY, Mo. — Hazardous driving continues to be a reality as a second round of rain and sleet hit the Mid-South Tuesday.
Within a few minutes of hitting I-55 north in Arkansas, the effects of Tuesday morning’s ice on interstate traffic was obvious with a jackknifed 18-wheeler blocking traffic at the Marion exit.
All the way to Blytheville it was stop-and-go as drivers appeared to use extreme caution. Wardell McKinney of Burdette said that’s really the only way to drive in this kind of weather.
“Keep it slow, and keep it slow, just keep it slow. Don’t be worrying about the guy behind you, just worry about what’s in front of you and keep it slow,” McKinney said.
In the Blytheville Walmart parking lot, utility crews from Ohio, contracted by Entergy Arkansas, were staging, ready to roll and assist if the second wave of sleet causes more power outages.
Just over Arkansas/Missouri state line, as conditions started to worsen and temperatures dropped to the low 20s, southbound I-55 traffic crawled for an SUV that had spun off the highway.
We talked to Micki Casey, who is headed home to central Florida after visiting Springfield, Illinois. So far, the trip back to the Sunshine State has taken longer than expected.
“Oh, wow. Non-stop ice. We had to get off the interstate because of a wreck and they directed us to a State road that had not been salted or plowed. So I drove 15 miles. It was my turn to drive, and pure ice,” Casey said.
One bit of good news is the Mississippi River bridge on Interstate 155 between Caruthersville and the Tennessee State line reopened to east and west-bound traffic Tuesday morning after being closed due to icy conditions.
What the next 24 hours will bring is expected to make things worse for travelers but Charlene Varney of Waterloo, Iowa, said she and her husband will take it in stride.
“We’re from Iowa so these conditions don’t always surprise us, but yeah, we’re doing a good job and we’re headed to Orange Beach,” Varney said.