The decision to keep local schools closed for the remainder of the week comes as the result of cold temperatures that are keeping secondary routes and side streets slick with ice and compacted snow from the early Monday morning winter storm that dumped as much as 8 inches of snow, and in some cases more, on Cleveland and Bradley County roadways.
Schools were already scheduled to be closed Monday for the MLK federal holiday.
Cleveland city and Bradley County road crews continue long hours of work to clear local routes but daytime melting is freezing again overnight which is creating hazardous conditions again for early morning motorists, according to area law enforcement and traffic control officials.
According to area weather forecasts, today and Friday may be good opportunities to shovel sidewalks and driveways for those residents who have not already done so.
“Partly sunny conditions will allow some melting of ice today,” said Matthew Cason, administrative officer for the Cleveland-Bradley County Emergency Management Agency.
The overnight temperature dipped to 19 degrees at the Emergency Operations Center.
“We are recommending residents who have not cleared driveways and sidewalks of snow to do so today and allow the lesser amounts left to dry off with the sunshine,” he added.
Cason said bitter overnight temperatures will once again cause a “deep freeze” locally. He said to expect area temperatures tonight as low as 13 degrees and wind chills to be around 7 degrees.
Local forecasters are already looking at another potential severe weather threat that could be looming as early as this weekend. Ice or freezing rain could be expected by Saturday after a slight warm-up of the area expected Friday.
Overnight temperatures continue to be frigid but lows will dip near 30 late Saturday. Associated with moisture from a front developing and traveling from the northwest to the east, a wintry mix of precipitation is a possibity beginning Saturday and lasting through MLK Day.
The daytime temperatures will break above freezing Friday, but those cold nights will allow ice and snow to stick around a few more days, possibly setting up conditions for an ice event this weekend — but these forecasts are still tentative.
The best chance for icing and freezing rain is going to be after midnight Monday.
Emergency managers are keeping an eye on the system.
Icing prior to a Christmas Day snow wreaked havoc on emergency responders as they worked to perform a number of rescues and answer calls for help.
Law enforcement officials prepared by outfitting patrol and 4-wheel drive vehicles with studded tires so they could reach those stranded in the icy event.
Officially, 4.5 inches of snow fell Christmas Day with another official 8 inches early Monday, bringing the total to 12.5 inches during the winter season to date.