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Double-punch of bad weather wallops county

Rain followed by snow has walloped the county in the past few days.

Last weekend’s heavy rain has left the county with a boil order most likely for the rest of the week. The state Department of Health will have to release the system from the boil order and until the lake clears, samples won’t be taken.

“You can’t treat mud,” Clinton Mayor Roger Rorie said Monday afternoon.

He said the treatment plant had been struggling successfully to filter mud and debris from the water system after the heavy rains, but turbidity levels had reached as high was 380 over the weekend, and by Monday afternoon, it was just too much. Normal turbidity levels are 5 to 10, Rorie said.

Just a day after the rain ended, an unexpected winter front brought snow to the county Tuesday.

Schools sent students home before noon, many offices and business closed down and police, ambulance crews and tow trucks got busy.

According to scanner and radio reports, cars, trucks and motorcycles slid off roads, into ditches and, at least a few times, into each other.

Highway 336 and Highway 65 South on Bee Branch Mountain were among the trouble spots. One officer reported a gas truck, water truck, a third truck and several vehicles sliding, stuck or blocking the road.

Highway 16 East was closed for awhile after a truck blocked it near the airport.

“Get off the road,” local DJ Sid King implored listeners shortly after noon. He asked residents to give the road crews a little time to work before hitting the streets.

Weekend rains closed some roads for a few hours Saturday night. There were some reports of minor flooding downtown.

Circuit Clerk Ester Bass said he heard water was getting into the Courthouse and he called the sheriff’s office from his Shirley home to ask about it.

“What does it matter,” Bass said the dispatcher told him, “Your road is closed anyway, you can’t get here.” There was no damage to the Courthouse, Bass said.

A bit of water began to seep into the radio station downtown, according to Clinton Police Officer Gene Miller. He said he and later Police Chief Toney Parish cleared out the drain in front of the office several times and no damage was done.

There was some damage at the new baseball fields at the city park as debris from the wind and rain knocked down some fencing. Rorie said city workers usually lay the fences down when that kind of weather is expected, but said they were caught off this time.

He said the rain would likely bring a declaration of disaster from the state and the city will be available for some financial aid for repairs. He said the fencing is going to be redesigned to alleviate the recurring problem.

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