ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. - Sleet and snow fell across much of the South starting Sunday, Jan. 9. For northeast Alabama, the inclement weather and subsequent unsafe road conditions caused school and business closures and delays for several days.

Anniston Army Depot didn't open for business on Monday, Jan. 10, and officials delayed openings for Jan. 11 and 12, starting work at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., respectfully.

Seeing anywhere from two to four inches of snow, depot personnel were able to find out about the commander's decision to open or close the installation by calling the SNOW phone, 256-235-SNOW (7669).

According to the Directorate of Information Management, 19,961 calls were made to the SNOW phone Jan. 10, and 8,570 calls were made Jan. 11.

"I am somewhat surprised by the large number of calls, but this reiterates just how important the SNOW line is to our communication efforts," said Clester Burdell, chief, Strategic Communications Office.

The Depot Operations Center is staffed 24/7 and is responsible for changing the message on the SNOW phone as needed. Direct calls to the Operations Center, especially during stormy weather or urgent situations, are to be limited for emergencies only, said Kenny Steppe, OC supervisor. "The OC received many phone calls Monday that should have been placed to the SNOW phone instead," he said.

The closure and delays at ANAD changed many plans on the installation calendar, namely the visit by TACOM Life Cycle Management Command's Maj. Gen. Kurt Stein and the ribbon cutting at the new Industrial Wastewater Treatment Plant. The ribbon cutting has been rescheduled for Jan. 21.

DES plays it safe

While most of the workforce was home enjoying the white, frosty substance on the ground, a contingent of emergency responders and utilities workers were securing the depot's grounds, buildings and equipment.

ANAD Directorate of Emergency Services continued providing security here even when the roads outside the gates were closed. DES had the assistance of the Directorate of Public Works before and after the sleet and snow hit.

"We used DPW to our advantage to get the roads clear and to gain access to the buildings we needed to check," said DES' Teri Curry.

Curry said DES security guards arrived to work Sunday with bags packed with personal items such as food, a change of clothes and other essentials and waited for the snow to start. "We're prepared to stay however long we need to be here whenever there's a chance of severe weather."

DPW keeps it running

With the news that a heavy wintry mix was on its way, Deputy Director of Public Works Mike Mathews said the DPW team worked Jan. 7 topping off the generators with fuel and heating boiler fuel tanks. Per usual, boiler operators maintained the main boiler plant and 21 satellite boilers.

To prepare for inclement weather, DPW also checked to make sure all General Services Administration automobiles were fueled and worked to keep the roads clean for emergency services personnel.

"We thought the depot was going to be operational on Monday (Jan. 10) and wanted to make sure people could work in safe, comfortable conditions," said Mathews.

DPW had electricians on stand-by in case the power lines went down, but luckily there were no power outages or damage to depot property.