- Associated Press - Thursday, March 5, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - An overnight storm dumped sleet and snow on much of Arkansas, forcing most schools to cancel Thursday classes and making the morning commute tricky for people in some parts of the state.

The storm blew in Wednesday evening, dropping up to six inches of sleet and snow in central Arkansas and more than eight inches in the state’s northeast, according to the National Weather Service in North Little Rock. Parts of southern Arkansas got up to two inches.

School districts from Bentonville all the way to Lake Village closed for the day. Arkansas State University was closed Thursday and Friday.

Every highway in the state was iced over to some degree in the morning, but roads in western Arkansas were mostly clear by the afternoon. An Arkansas State Police spokesman said in the afternoon that no serious injuries had been reported due to the weather.

Troopers worked to clear traffic jams on Interstate 30 near Benton and Interstate 40 near Carlisle after semitrailers jackknifed. Officers also responded to various vehicles that slid off roadways statewide.

Still, first responders were prepared for colder conditions. Arkansas Department of Emergency Management spokesman Rick Fahr said above-freezing temperatures thawed roadways quicker than expected.

“There are dangerous conditions out there, but this could have been much worse,” he said.

Fahr warned against unnecessary travel until roadways are cleared.

“It’s going to get bitterly cold tonight and you would expect anything out there that’s left to refreeze,” he said.

A forecaster said temperatures should dip again on Friday but that the wintry precipitation should be mostly melted by the weekend.

The Southeastern Conference moved up the start times for two games at its tournament in North Little Rock so that fans could travel before roadways deteriorate again.

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Follow Allen Reed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Allen_Reed

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