MDOT preparing for potential winter weather conditions

JACKSON – Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) crews are preparing for potential winter weather conditions as a cold front moves through Mississippi December 10 and 11.

“With a winter event, MDOT bases its response on information issued by the National Weather Service (NWS),” Melinda McGrath, P.E., MDOT executive director. “Crews in areas that could potentially be affected by winter weather will be monitoring local forecasts and riding the highways throughout the evening and into the early morning.”

Current weather reports from NWS show potential for a wintry mix of rain and snow Tuesday afternoon into Tuesday night in locations north of the U.S. Highway 82 corridor. Light accumulations up to one-quarter inch are possible.

MDOT crews are monitoring weather reports and are preparing equipment by installing salt spreaders on trucks and making sure all response vehicles are fueled and running properly. Crews are stocking salt, sand and asphalt slag piles.

“Our response will be based on the weather. Pre-treating roads with brine must be done on a dry surface. Applying it during or after rainfall renders it ineffective,” McGrath said. “The salt brine helps lessen ice formation, but cannot completely prevent it. Depending on the temperature drop and precipitation mix, we may also apply salt and slag for increased traction. Motorists should always slow down and drive carefully in winter weather 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; should winter weather conditions become present, black ice can form.

·         Allow more space between the vehicles around you.

·         Brake early and gently to avoid skidding, and never slam on the brakes.

·         Avoid distractions, such as talking or texting on a cell phone.

·         Stay alert.

“MDOT will be monitoring the weather so the appropriate response efforts can be activated,” McGrath said. “The best thing you can do to stay safe is pay attention to local weather forecasts and advisories, and alerts from the Mississippi Highway Patrol and local law enforcement. Everyone should stay off the roads if they become unsafe for travel due to winter weather conditions.”

For more information and tips on how to prepare for winter weather conditions, visit GoMDOT.com/winter.

For real-time road conditions on Mississippi’s highways and bridges, visit MDOTtraffic.com and follow @MississippiDOT on Facebook and Twitter.

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