Nothing short of a blizzard - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Nothing short of a blizzard

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They say it got rough in Blytheville, Ark., on Christmas.

"Oh yeah, it was strictly blizzard conditions, said Barry Bullough. "That wind from the north was blowing snow horizontally."

The horizontal whipping snow stuck to everything and caused a power outage in the northeastern part of the city and it also created a unique problem for drivers.

MOTRE: Winter storm rocks Arkansas, 200K without power

"What it done, it packed the snow up in the traffic light heads facing North and the people can't see the traffic lights," Bullough said.

Light tech Carl Avery spent most of the day digging the packed snow out of the signal lights.

"It's pretty bad, it's kind of iced over and frozen," he said. "I'm using de-icer and a scraper."

"Most of the signal lights affected were on the highways and main roads near the interstate," Bullough added. "The city has some 14 traffic lights that were affected."

The green lights could be seen partially through some of the ice and snow, but the red and yellow were completely covered. Everyone could tell when to go, but nobody could tell when to slow down, or stop. This is a problem the city of Blytheville started seeing a couple of years ago when the city changed to LED lights in its signal lights.

"Yeah, this never occurred to anyone when we first changed to LEDs from incandescent light bulbs," Bullough said. "Incandescent bulbs put off heat, but with the LED lights the snow wouldn't melt because the LED lights put off no heat."

The city of Blytheville has had to deal with this problem every snowstorm for the past six years, but they have no plans to ditch the LED lights.

"Nah, this kind of conditions don't happen too often, and if happens again, we'll get out the man with the bucket truck and clean it out again," Bullough said.

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