The winter weather that moved through central Alabama is continuing to create headaches for many in the area.
I-65 was a mess yesterday and that traffic nightmare actually continues. Part of I-65 shut down overnight near Cullman from icy roads and a semi-truck that had jack knifed.
Many motorists were stuck in the cars in Cullman and officials with the city opened up the Cullman Civic Center for stranded drivers to find shelter. Due to the danger, the drivers could not be picked up by rescue personnel and were tasked with finding their own way to the civic center. Despite this, officials say 116 people managed to make it to the civic center. The temporary shelter will close down on Friday at noon.
Some stuck on I-65 decided to stay in their cars overnight. One woman we spoke with spent nine hours in her vehicle. She says she eventually got into another car to share some warmth.
"We have no idea what we're supposed to do. You sit here for nine hours. What do you do?" said Stephanie Burgett about her time on I-65. "I got in the car with other people next to me. They had blankets. That was nice."
Snow slowed down traffic in Walker County, too. Besides being on the ground, there was also accumulation on roads in Jasper.
Another traffic trouble spot was Highway 31 in Vestavia Hills. The snow brought traffic to a standstill, especially from people traveling south out of Birmingham. For many drivers, trips that usually only take minutes ended up being more than hour.
In Birmingham, a school bus got stuck in the winter mess yesterday afternoon. No one was injured and students were okay. The driver says another bus came and picked up the kids to take them home.
The winter weather is causing delays at schools across the state this morning and it also caused early dismissals yesterday. Close to 200 Pinson Elementary students were stuck at school yesterday after several buses had to turn around because of the dangerous road conditions. Principal Karen Jones says when the buses initially headed out, the roads were not that bad and she declared them safe for travel. The snow picked up after they drove off and the conditions deteriorated quickly. Three bus drivers and roughly 200 children had to turn around.
"They were instructed to bring them back to us. So, we had three buses return to us, about 200 children. We kept them till parents came and watched movies, had snacks, just had a good old after-school party," Jones said.
Most of the parents who spoke to FOX6 say they were glad the buses turned around and were grateful for the quick thinking and dedication of the school staff.
Advent Episcopal school didn't waste any time letting students out early yesterday. That is because they have students who live in 42 different zip codes! The school let out early to give parents enough time to get there, pick up their children and return home before roads got too bad. School dismissed at 12:30 p.m. yesterday, close to the time the snow started falling in Birmingham. We are told the head of the school communicated with other schools before making the decision on what time to close.
"She goes through a process, has to check out with other schools in the city, other private schools. Primarily, we have to take care of our students, make sure our kids get home safely," said Rick Phillips with Advent Episcopal.
The school is opening two hours later this morning as well. So instead of 8 a.m., school will start at 10 a.m.
Stay with FOX6 to keep up to date with all the weather-related school delays or closings. We will keep the crawl running at the bottom of the screen as well.
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