UPDATE: River Falls schools close; other area schools starting late TuesdayFollowing a two-hour delay announced early Tuesday, River Falls school officials decided to close for the day Tuesday as commuters struggled to accomplish morning routines on a virtual sheet of ice. Meanwhile, Pierce County sheriff's deputies were largely reliant on the county's fleet of highway maintenance trucks to accomplish anything early Tuesday.
Following a two-hour delay announced early Tuesday, River Falls school officials decided to close for the day, Superintendent Tom Westerhaus announced about 7:40 a.m.
River Falls and many other area schools were to be opening two hours late Tuesday but as the morning unfolded, it became apparent that road conditions still wouldn't be suitable for rural bus routes. Word of the delayed opening was conveyed via the District's automated phone system and through local TV and radio announcements.
The city received about one-tenth of an inch of drizzle and rain overnight.
Schools at Hudson, Ellsworth, New Richmond, Baldwin-Woodville and Amery were also delayed two hours due to weather conditions.
In Pierce County, sheriff's deputies were themselves having difficulties responding to ditched cars and accidents due to slippery conditions.
In the southeastern part of the county, CTH U was reported to be impassable with up to seven vehicles already in ditches before 6 a.m. Cars and trucks were reportedly lined at the base of the Hwy. 10 hill, heading north out of Plum City.
Similar conditions were reported on the Sand Mine Hill -- Hwy. 35 south of Bay City as well as hills on CTH D and E.
Deputies responded to one injury-accident, which occurred about 7:45 a.m. on the steep Hwy. 63 hill near Hager City but the first officer on-scene reported only one minor injury. An ambulance from Ellsworth responded as eastbound Hwy. 63 was backed up to the high bridge by a semi-truck, unable to make the hill near Mr. Sippi's bar at the Back Channel bridge.
At one point, a Pierce County Highway Department maintenance truck driver reported his truck had slid sideways on a hill and he was working to "wiggle" his way out of the situation.
In River Falls, city crews were out early, applying chemicals to main thoroughfares and hilly side streets. On Birch Street, south of Morgan, a city truck was unable to crest the knoll and had to back down, applying salt behind the rig, before attempting a second run.