Storm leaves Florida Panhandle covered in ice - FOX 13 News

Storm leaves Florida Panhandle covered in ice

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PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) -

Residents in the western Panhandle remained indoors and off the roads on Wednesday as freezing temperatures caused a layer of ice and dusting of snow to linger.

Emergency officials said Wednesday afternoon that numerous bridges in the western Panhandle could remain closed through Thursday morning because of the icy conditions.

Temperatures were expected to climb to about 35 degrees but overcast skies would prevent much melting.

After sunset Tuesday, officials closed the two bridges crossing Pensacola Bay and connecting the city to rest of the state.

Panhandle counties further west also announced numerous bridge and road closings.

The region hasn't seen snow and ice for years.

Sporadic power outages were reported throughout the area because of iced power lines.

"Every major bridge and roadway in Escambia County is either closed or experiencing major issues and even neighborhood streets are icy and dangerous," Escambia county officials said in a public-safety update on Wednesday.

The region had a dusting of snow that melted quickly in 2010. It has been more than a decade since the area had snow that remained on the ground for a while, according to weather records.

Schools, government offices, even military bases were closed or operating with limit staffing Wednesday.

Emergency officials warned residents about falling tree limbs and downed power lines caused by the ice buildup.

Farther west, officials in Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties also announced numerous bridge and road closings and encouraged residents to stay inside and off the streets until the ice melts. Residents in normally sunny vacation destinations including Fort Walton Beach and Destin were urged to remain indoors and off the icy roads.

John Hofstad, public works director for Okaloosa County, told The Northwest Florida Daily News (http://bit.ly/1fdtdP7) that all roads and bridges in that area were iced over Wednesday.

"There's not enough sand to go around," he said.

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