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Schools, courthouse close, games cancelled Friday

Butler County schools and the county courthouse were closed on Friday, precautionary measures taken to keep their students and employees at home during the time when roads and bridges were likely to be more dangerous.

Rain on Thursday night caused some bridges in Butler County to ice over because of temperatures that dipped into the teens. An arctic cold front has kept Alabama in its grip the entire week, with weekday highs only topping the mid-30s. Friday’s high was only 27 degrees and wind gusts made it feel that much colder.

County commissioners debated the weather issue during Thursday night’s workshop meeting, deciding to have courthouse employees come in at 10 a.m. once the sun had had enough time to thaw out roads. With one qualification: should Butler County schools decide to shut down, so would the county.

The decision to close was made at 5 a.m. Friday morning after road inspections by the EMA and sheriff’s deputies.

“There was ice on the roads and I think it actually got harder after that,” said EMA Bob Luman.

Luman said the county would likely be dealing with these hazardous conditions throughout the weekend as temperatures are expected to drop into the teens again tonight.

The closing of school also caused the cancellation of several basketball games, including Greenville High School’s trip to Camden to play Wilcox-Central.

GHS head coach Bryant Marlow said coaches were working to re-schedule the game, but he was unsure when that would be.

Butler County Magnet School and McKenzie were also supposed to be on the road Friday, at J.U. Blacksher and Kinston, respectively.

Fort Dale Academy was also closed on Friday. Headmaster David Brantley notified parents via an automated voice mail system on Thursday afternoon, citing the threat of unsafe driving conditions early Friday morning as reason for the cancellation.

Additionally, Fort Dale’s scheduled basketball game against Hooper Academy in Greenville Friday night has been cancelled as well.

Brantley said the school would make up the missed day on Feb. 15, which was previously scheduled to be a holiday.

Butler County Schools will make-up the missed day at the end of the school year.