Inside Photo -- Highway 425 ice north of Clayton.jpg

EMPTY STRETCHES of road were the norm early this week as one winter storm after another moved through the region. Traffic was almost non-existent on Highway 425 north of Clayton early Tuesday morning. (Concordia Sentinel photo)  

Sheriff David Hedrick said Tuesday that the slippery road conditions will continue until the final storm system moves through the area tomorrow.

He said that most residents stayed home early this week when the temperatures plummeted, and sleet and snow covered the landscape.

First responders, firemen, correctional officers, the Vidalia Police Department, deputies and others have been working day and night to keep the public safe, he said.

Hedrick said everyone should stay at home and advised motorists to be safe -- “not foolish” – if they have to be on the roadways. He said that those who do not drive carefully not only endanger their own lives but also the lives of others.

Neighbors should check on the elderly and disabled in their communities. He said deputies have been checking on the elderly.

“Those who use generators should to do so with care,” he said.

“This will pass,” he said of the frigid conditions. “We will get through it.”

Vidalia Police Chief Joey Merrill said there were no major accidents as of Wednesday morning (Feb. 17).

"So far we have been fortunate," Merrill said. "Everyone is driving carefully or staying off the roads as much as they can. If anyone needs us they can call 336-5254. I appreciate our officers and dispatchers. We could not do this without them."

The Louisiana State Police also urged residents to stay off the roads for now:

“As the second winter weather system within a few days is upon us, we continue to ask motorists to avoid unnecessary travel. Roadways across Louisiana, especially portions of Central and North Louisiana, remain highly impassable and dangerous for vehicular travel. These are unprecedented times, and we need the communities’ assistance and cooperation.

“We understand that some motorists are considered essential and must travel. If you fall into this category, please drive slowly, allow extra time to reach your destination, increase following distance, make sure your cell phone is fully charged, and wear your seat belt. If motorists should become stranded, they may utilize the *LSP (*577) system from a cell phone to contact the nearest LSP Troop to request help.

“For those who don’t have to travel, take this time to stay home and enjoy family.

“For road closure information, motorists can utilize the 511 phone system, 511la.org, or Louisiana 511 smartphone application.

“Troopers have seen an increase in calls for service to assist stranded motorists on our highways. Louisiana State Police continues to advise motorists to avoid unnecessary travel. Roadway conditions across Louisiana have not returned to normal, and many remain impassable.”

“If travel is necessary, motorists should refrain from driving around "road closed" barricades. These barricades are blocking roadways that have not been maintained for safe traveling. When motorists drive around barricades, they place themselves and first-responders in dangerous travel conditions.”

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