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Weather update
, Editor

A break in weather conditions that would have allowed a thaw of freezing rain and a light accumulation of snow is slow to develop across Union Parish.

Officials with the National Weather Service in Shreveport are saying highs Wednesday may reach 35 degrees – after an initial forecast calling for mid 40 degree temps – followed by a hard freeze Thursday morning.

Officials with the Union Parish School System have not yet decided whether classes will be cancelled again Thursday.

Representatives with Claiborne Electric said at mid-morning they hope to have service restored today to approximately 1,500 customers who were without power.

Sheriff Dusty Gates said his morning commute to the office was indicative of what most parish residents experienced.

“I live six miles out, and it took me about 45 minutes to get into the office,” Gates said. “Most of the major roads are treacherous but open. It’s when you get into the back roads that are dangerous.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development closed the bridge on Louisiana 2 at Sterlington just after 10 p.m. Tuesday. Marshall Hill, District 05 administrator with DOTD, said at noon they would re-evaluate conditions on the bridge later today.

Mario Valverde, forecaster with the National Weather Service, said more cloud cover that was initially forecast would keep temperatures just above freezing at best.

“Coupled with ice that’s currently on the ground, that will slow the warming,” Valverde said. “After tonight, temperatures should rise into the low fifties Thursday.”

A Claiborne Electric spokesman said the company anticipated ice accumulations creating problems and brought in contractors to help restore services.

“We had them stay overnight in Farmerville and Ruston so they’d be available to get out first thing (Wednesday) morning,” said Joey White, manager of member relations.

According to White, while some without power are in insolated areas, crews and contractors will be able to restore power to most large numbers of customers with repairs of lines damaged during the front that moved into the area late Tuesday.

Union Parish School Board president Robert James Jr. said at midday no decision has been made yet on whether to cancel classes for an additional day.

“I’ve been watching the weather and keeping up with what (transportation manager) Lynn Kenley has been posting on Facebook,” James said.

Kenley posted on his personal Facebook page, “A decision on what we’ll do won’t be made until later today.”

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