RICHMOND (WRIC) – With the possibility of winter weather over the weekend, VDOT crews are standing by and watching the forecast closely.
VDOT says even though the possible storm is a few days away and things could change, they've already been preparing and planning in case that ice starts to build up in the area.
“[We're] making the proper phone calls, getting trucks filled with sand and getting equipment ready, gassed up,” says VDOT Spokesperson Dawn Eischen. “So probably within the next couple of days people will see a little more activity going on.”
The big orange trucks and plows will be out and about when winter weather strikes.
What makes this storm a bit different though is the possibility of not only ice but rain mixed in, making it hard to pre-treat the roads.
“When we get this mixed precipitation, which is pretty common in this area, it makes it much more difficult to anticipate what type of treatment the roads are going to need. In this case, since its rain we can't put any type of treatment down ahead of time. It would just be a waste of resources and it would just wash away.”
But crews will still be out and about to treat those icy spots once the storm hits.
“When the temperatures are at or below freezing and the movement is wet, we'll go ahead and apply sand and salt,” Eischen says. “Mainly focuses on the bridges and overpasses because they do freeze first. Some drivers don't realize that and they hit a patch of ice on the bridge and they spin out, so that's why we focus first on the bridges and overpasses.
And because this storm is so split with where the ice and rain will be, VDOT says if you have to travel at all this weekend pay extra attention to the forecast.
Dominion Virginia Power is also preparing for the storm.
“Icy conditions is probably the most challenging weather conditions we face because either it's a problem of major magnitude or it's no problem at all,” says spokesperson Karl Neddenien. “There's no half way with a major ice storm.”
An ice storm can be especially difficult for power crews. The ice can build up quickly on trees bringing them down on power lines…but either way, crews will be standing by.
“It also makes it extremely challenging to respond to outages because of the slick driving conditions, so we're going to be prepared. We're going to continue to monitor what's going on and when it's all said and done, We'll be ready when the storm gets here.”
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