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Crews help dig out after snowfall

Robert Houk • Updated Dec 10, 2018 at 5:03 PM

Sunday was a long day for power and road crews in Washington County. Heavy wet snow downed power lines in isolated neighborhoods and made plowing a nightmare for employees with the Washington County Highway Department.

“We had 11 trucks at one point off in the ditches,” Washington County Highway Superintendent John B. Deakins said. “It’s hard trying to plow in one direction when you are sliding in another.”

After working for more than 18 hours, Deakins said his crews were able to make at least one lane on most of the 800 miles of roads the county maintains drivable. Deakins said a road grader was able to pull the stranded snow plows back into service.

Crews were still working most of Monday to make all roads passable in Washington County, which received between 8 and 12 inches in many areas. 

BrightRidge officials said as many as 480 customers were without power Monday following a new round of early morning snow showers. Tim Whaley, BrightRidge’s public and governmental relations director, said the utility has seen power outages “fluctuate” in its service area since Sunday. He said most were reported in the northern part of Washington County.

“Most have been in very small clusters,” Whaley said. “These isolated outages have been bouncing back and forth. We hope to have most customers back on by the end of the day.”

Whaley said many of the outages were a result of snow-heavy trees and branches downing power lines.

Rising temperatures Monday afternoon helped in melting snow on many Johnson City streets. Assistant Public Works Director Andy Best said crews were still removing snow from streets, and cautioned motorists that some streets were still slushy and slippery in spots.

The Johnson City Transit System was operating its fixed routes on a regular schedule by noon. Garbage pickup was being conducted Monday, but city trucks were unable to access some neighborhoods. Trash containers will be picked up in the coming days as crews can get to them.

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