Ice, ice baby: WVDOH preparing for wintery mix

CHARLESTON, WV – With rain moving into the Mountain State on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022, and temperatures expected to drop over the coming days, West Virginia Division of Highways snow removal and ice control crews are getting ready to deal with a wintery mix that may include rain, freezing rain, snow, and ice.

“We put our plan together, we have our people on standby and our trucks are ready to go,” said State Highway Engineer Alan Reed, P.E. “Whatever comes along, we load up and head out to take care of it.”

While drivers may be used to driving in snow, it’s the ice they should be especially wary of, said Joe Pack, P.E., WVDOH Deputy State Highway Engineer for Division Operations.

“Driving on ice is completely different from driving in snow,” Pack said. “With snow, it’s obvious what road conditions are. A thin layer of ice may not be apparent to drivers, who may just think the road is wet.”

The National Weather Service predicted rain continuing through the day and evening of Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022. With temperatures expected to drop sharply on the morning of Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, accumulations of ice on roadways around West Virginia is a distinct possibility.

While forecasters were predicting only an inch or so of snow during the next few days, the National Weather Service said up to three-tenths of an inch of ice accumulation was possible. The National Weather Service warned that a layer of ice on the road can make for very slick driving conditions, or make travel nearly impossible.

Snow control and ice removal crews change their tactics when dealing with ice, adding more abrasives into their road salt mixtures to provide more traction for motorists.

“We have any combination of using either straight salt, or a mix of stone and salt, or any variation thereof to be able to handle whatever condition is out there,” Reed said.

Especially when dealing with ice, the West Virginia Division of Highways urges motorists to stay home if possible. If drivers do have to venture out on icy roads, drive slowly, take your time, and stay safe.

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