The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) officials are gearing up for potential winter weather in parts of Mississippi next week as a blast of artic air moves south. Forecasts predict hard freezes with morning lows in the single-digits in parts the northern part of the state and daytime highs in the 30’s with precipitation ranging from snow to freezing rain. Weather can change quickly and MDOT is prepared to respond to winter weather and extreme cold events.
MDOT crews have prepared equipment by installing salt spreaders on trucks and making sure all response vehicles are fueled and running properly. Crews have stockpiled salt, sand and asphalt slag piles.
“MDOT workers are standing by, closely monitoring the weather updates from the National Weather Service and are ready to respond to treat roadways to keep motorists as safe as possible during this winter weather event,” said MDOT Executive Director Brad White.
Different materials are used for specific winter weather events. Salt brine can be sprayed on the dry road surfaces to help prevent ice formation on travel lanes. Crews north of U.S. 82 plan to begin pre-treating roadways starting Saturday. If the roads are already wet, granular salt can be applied to help prevent the formation of ice by lowering the freezing point of water. Sand and slag can also be spread to help improve traction in slushy conditions.
To assist the traveling public in preparing for potential winter weather conditions, MDOT offers these safe driving tips.
- Remember, ice will form on bridges and overpasses quicker than the road.
- Slow down. Winter weather conditions can create black ice.
- Allow more space between your car and the vehicles around you.
- Brake early and gently to avoid skidding. Never slam on the brakes.
- Avoid distractions, such as talking or texting on a cell phone.
While MDOT crews will be working to keep roads passable, sometimes conditions can overwhelm available resources and cars can be on the roadways for long periods. Here are some important things to have just in case:
- Windshield scraper
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Portable cellphone charger and cable
- Jumper cables
- Bottled water and snacks
- Extra blankets
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