The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

December 21, 2012

Blizzard rolls into area, causes driving difficulties

By Natalie Conrad
Herald Staff Writer

CLINTON — Strong winds and rapidly falling snow led to treacherous driving conditions and a slew of accidents on Thursday.

In some areas there was zero visibility, making it hard for drivers to stay on the road and led many into the ditch.

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With slippery roads and little visibility, there was not a lot drivers could do to avoid the mess. Even Clinton County Sheriff Rick Lincoln had to find his way out of the ditch.

“Sometimes when you hit a slippery patch, it can be very difficult to maintain control,” Lincoln said. “The tow truck that pulled me out almost went in the ditch too, because of the strong winds.”

The sheriff’s department met with Emergency Management Coordinator Chance Kness prior to the stormy day to prepare for the chaos of the blizzard. All six deputies on duty spent most of their shift out helping at vehicle accidents.

From a semi truck accident east of Lost Nation to a van rollover in Low Moor, county and local law enforcement had their hands full.

“We are very busy,” Lincoln said. “ It’s times like these when we encourage people to not travel unless they have to. You should really just stay home and stay safe.”

Local and county officials were out and about throughout the storm helping drivers find their way home. Clinton County Communications received a heaping amount of cries for help from stranded drivers.

“We’ve had an abnormally high call volume today,” Clinton County Communications Manager Eric Dau said. “There are a lot of vehicles in the ditch and a lot of fender benders.”

From about 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the county received 81 calls from drivers across the county.

K & K Towing and other local towing companies stayed busy all day long as they pulled people out of ditches throughout the gateway area.

Camanche was one of the few exceptions, with the roads quickly cleared; there were no reported accidents. There were also numerous accidents in Whiteside and Carroll counties in Illinois, but all personnel were out on the scene and unavailable for comment.